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Robert Frank

1924 Zürich

The photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank was born in Zurich on November 9, 1924. Frank’s career began with a photography apprenticeship and a job with Gloriafilm in Zurich. In 1947, he emigrated to New York, and he worked there for "Harper's Bazaar" and other large magazines as a fashion photographer. During the years 1948-53, he traveled through Europe and America; in connection with these travels, he decided to give up fashion photography and to work as a freelance photojournalist. In 1956, his photo album "Indios" appeared, which contained Frank’s photographs from Peru as well as works by Bischof and Verger.
Robert Frank participated in Steichen’s exhibit "Family of Man" (1955) and shortly thereafter was the first European photographer to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship. The fellowship allowed him to take a two-year trip around the US. One result of this trip was the photo volume "The Americans", which up to now is still considered one of the most important photo volumes. It documents the American way of life at the time of the Beat Generation.
Robert Frank captured everyday life on the street in spontaneous pictures taken with a 35mm camera. The pictures are expressive and emotional, playing with soft focus and abstraction – with these pictures, Frank created a unique photographic style.
During the time between 1959 and 1972, Frank worked primarily with film (for example "Pull My Daisy" [1958] and "Me and My Brother" [1968]). His works are experimental and classed under the genres documentary and feature film. At the same time, his photographs were displayed during these years in several solo exhibits.
In 1972, Robert Frank published his autobiography, "The Lines of my Hand", and turned once again more intensely toward photography. He worked with a Polaroid camera and created collages and montages, some of which were painted over and augmented with text. After this phase, he made more films. In 1995, he signed over his photographs to the National Gallery in Washington, to which the photographer then devoted a retrospective ("Moving Out"). Robert Frank has residences today in Canadian Nova Scotia and in New York.

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