I went to see Robert Frank’s “The Americans” this past week at the Met in New York City. I have always been a fan of Frank, not so much for his fashion photography but his photographic observations of “us” – us Americans, our culture at that time in our history. He was an observer of “all” people not just the beautiful ones captured on the pages of Harper’s Bazaar, and he captured those observations for generations to come.
As I took my time looking at the prints and contact sheets displayed, I was able to get a glimpse of how he shot – what his camera lingered on and where he went from there. I could see his thought process in how he made his selections, looking at the frames circled with his red grease pencil. I read his letters to his colleague Walker Evans, another favorite of mine and I got a much better sense of him as a person and photographer. I watched an early video that he filmed and was amazed by how he pushed his own photographic boundaries into another medium. The exhibition provided a wealth of insight and information on Frank, his project “The Americans” and a time in our country’s history – and I was captivated.
His images linger in my head and remind me of my beginnings in photography and “why” I became a photographer. Like Frank, I’m an observer of all people, of cultures and use my camera as a means to capture my observations and share them with others. My passion is rooted in my own personal road trips; I have taken over the years with my camera. It has triggered in me the desire to explore, to embark on another journey with my camera and see where it takes me.
I’ve spent a career and a lifetime “on the road”, always the traveler, observing and capturing the daily lives of others – not the famous, but the common man. Not the horrific, the outrageous, the exotic for those reasons – but because they’re part of the world I live in. My hope is that I the images I leave behind, will provide others a glimpse of that time, that space, those lives that I stumbled upon during a lifetime spent on the road.