The Americans
 

New York City

Reading Report on Susan Sontag's, America Seen Through Photographs Darkly?
Garry Winogrand, Central Park Zoo, New York City, 1967.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bernard Waldman, mushroom cloud resulting from explosion of Little Boy over Nagasaki, August 6, 1945.
Nagasaki before and after Fat Man nuclear bombing, August 9, 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

August 6, 1945, Hiroshima, Japan
Nuclear blast shadow, Nagasaki, Japan, 1945

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Victim of Hiroshima nuclear bombing, 1945.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1945
First use of the Atomic Bomb at Hiroshima and Nagasaki
 
Founding of United Nations
 
 
1947
U.S. introduces Marshall Plan to rebuild Europe, Asia and the Soviet Union
Edward Steichen becomes MOMA's second department of photography director
Soviet forces refuse Marshall Plan funds when they determine they cannot control the terms of the aid

General MacArthur & Emperor Hirohito, 1945.

 
1950 - 1953
Korean War - America combats the global expansion of Communism with inconclusive results
 
1950 - 1957
"McCarthy Era" - Senator Joseph McCarthy accuses hundreds of Americans of being Communists while the leader of the House Committee on Un-American Activities

Senator Joseph McCarthy, 1954.

1952
1951
J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye
1954
William Golding's The Lord of the Flies
1955
The Family of Man Exhibition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cologne Cathedral after allied bombing
Alfred Eisenstaedt, V.J. Day, 1945.
   
 
The Kissing Sailor or the Selective
Blindness of Rape Culture

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Family of Man
1955

 

The Family of Man

Wynn Bullock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To "explain man to man" and to celebrate "the essential oneness of mankind throughout the world" - Steichen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photographer Unknown, The Family of Man Exhibition, 1955.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Child in the Forest

Wynn Bullock, Child in the Forest, 1951.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peoplemontage

People montage

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Parents and children

Parents and children layout

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charles Fenno Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dead Soldier

Raphel Platnick, Dead Soldier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hygrogem Bomb

Photographer Unknown, Atomic Cloud During Baker Day Blast at Bikini, 1946.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A mushroom cloud follows the test detonation of an 11-megaton nuclear device over Bikini Atoll on March 26, 1954.

 

Who is the slayer?  Who the victim?  Speak.  - Sophocles

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

W. Eugene Smith

W. Eugene Smith

“If Mr. Steichen’s well-intentioned spell doesn’t work, it can only be because he has been so intent on the physical similarities that unite ‘The Family of Man’ that he has neglected to conjure the intangible beliefs and preferences that divide men into countries and parties and clans.  And he has utterly forgotten that a family quarrel can be as fierce as any other kind.” – Phoebe Lou Adams

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pre-War Aesthetic:
Previsualization
Documentary style
The decisive moment
Genius, individual photographer
 
Ansel Adams, Yosemite Valley Clearing Winter Storm, 1942.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the late 50s, marginalized groups
begin to gather in resistance

Civil Rights Movement of the 60s
Anti War movements
Feminist Movement of the 70s
Gay Rights Movement of the 80s
 
 
Ernest Withers, Workers Assembling for a Solidarity March, Memphis, Tennessee, 1968.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Post-War Aims:
  • Photographers wanted to go beyond
    commercial look of social realism
  • Exploration of the personal and the philosophical
  • Self-expression and experimentation
    rather than documentation
  • Elimination of the conventional
Aaron Siskind, Jerome, Arizona, 1949.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Americans
1958

 

Robert Frank, U.S. 285, New Mexico, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

American Graffitti, 1973

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Frank, Parade, Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Frank, Trolley- New Orleans, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Characteristics of images in The Americans:
 
  • Disregard for established photojournalistic standards
  • Private, unglamorous images
  • Use of blur, grain and movement
  • Sense of freedom
  • No sense of security
  • No decisive moment
  • No independent masterpieces (like The Steerage), the series functions best as a whole
Robert Frank, Jehova's Witness,
Los Angeles
, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Covered Car
Car Accident

Robert Frank, Covered Car - Long Beach, CA,
1955 - 1956.

Robert Frank, Car Accident - U.S. 66, between Winslow and Flagstaff, Arizona, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Frank, Rodeo- New York City, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicago
Public Park Ann Arbor Michigan
Robert Frank, Chicago, 1955 - 1956.
Robert Frank, Public Park- Ann Arbour, Michigan, 1955 - 1956.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Robert Frank, Charleston, South Carolina, 1955 - 1956.

 

"Photography is a solitary journey. That is the only course open to the creative photographer. There is no compromise: Only a few photographers accept this fact. That is probably the reason why we have only a few really great photographers. In recent years camera journalism has become many people's definition of good photography. For me camera journalism means taste dictated by the magazines." - Robert Frank