The Americans by Robert Frank

The Americans was so controversial when it was printed in 1958, that it was printed in France and wouldn’t be printed in the United States until a year later.

It’s a harsh examination of America as it really was and Robert Frank wasn’t afraid to see what lay behind the mask of his home country. 


Why We Love The Americans

There are just 83 photographs in this book but Robert Frank uses them to strip American life bare of its trappings of refinement to show the rapaciously consumptive culture beneath.

The Americans by Robert Frank

He shows us how racism manifested in day-to-day life, how politicians failed to deliver for their people and more. 

Every photograph is clearly linked thematically and every shot seems “just right” and “slightly wrong” at the same time. 

This was innovative and exciting social commentary in 1959 and it hasn’t lost any of its power today. 


Final Thoughts On The Americans

The Americans is, rightly, considered to be one of the classic photography works of the 20th century and it’s just as impactful now. 

You’ll want a quiet space and some time to reflect on each image to get the most out of this but you’ll be very glad that you made room for this work in your life. 

If you enjoy photography as social commentary you may also appreciate Grim Street by Mark Cohen, America by Zoe Strauss and Subway by Bruce Davidson. 

You can grab a copy online here.

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