Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, died on Tuesday at age 94.
Frank was most known for his work The Americans that captured ordinary scenes of life in the 1950s’ United States. The Swiss-born photographer, who moved to the US at age 23, died in a hospital in Nova Scotia, Canada, where he lived with his second wife.
His death was confirmed by the Pace-MacGill Gallery, which represented his work for the last four decades.
Frank was born in 1924 in Switzerland where his Jewish family stayed during World War II. In 1947, two years after the war ended, he moved to the US.
“There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This is realism. But realism is not enough—there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph.”
Rest in peace, Robert Frank, who captured our world in all its hope and despair. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/hBKCpNFB8F
— Tribeca (@Tribeca) September 10, 2019
The 83 pictures in The Americans, picked from a collection of more than 23,000, influenced many prominent photographers in the decades following its 1958 release. The book was initially not received well as its style was considered too raw.
Among one of Frank’s most famous photographs is the scene of a racially segregated bus because of the US Jim Crow laws.
R. I. P. American genius, Robert Frank; 1924 – 2019. Published “The Americans” 1958. Changed the world.
“With that little camera that he raises and snaps with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film.” – Jack Kerouac pic.twitter.com/OmAkS3LheT
— Jerry Saltz (@jerrysaltz) September 10, 2019
During the 1970s and 80s, Frank also worked as a filmmaker on a notorious documentary about a 1972 tour by The Rolling Stones that featured a lot of sex, drugs and alcohol.
The iconic rock group sued Frank to stop the release of the documentary, but he eventually won the right to show it under strict conditions.
Frank had two children. His daughter Andrea died in a 1974 plane crash and his son, Pablo Frank, was diagnosed with schizophrenia and he committed suicide in 1994.
The deaths of his children played a significant role in his later work.
Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank, one of the most influential photographers of the 20th century, died on Tuesday at age 94. Frank was most known for his work The Americans that captured ordinary scenes of life in the 1950s’ United States.