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Robert Frank

Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey

1955

During the early 1950s, Robert Frank applied to the Guggenheim Foundation for funding to record “what one naturalized American finds to see in the United States that signifies the kind of civilization born here and spreading elsewhere...things that are there anywhere and everywhere—easily found, not easily selected and interpreted.” Awarded two grants, he struck out across the country in a style similar to that of the Beat Generation writers of the time: spontaneously and without a set plan. The resulting photographs, published in the United States as The Americans in 1959, are a raw and insightful consideration of a country in transition, revealing the uncertainty of post–World War II American culture. The sense of disquiet that overwhelms his subjects suggests cracks in the veneer of hope and optimism that allegedly defined the postwar era.

Robert Frank (b. 1924, Zurich; lives and works in New York and Cape Breton Island, Canada)
Parade—Hoboken, New Jersey, 1955
Gelatin-silver print
11 x 13 1/2 in.
The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles
The Ralph M. Parsons Foundation Photography Collection

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. —Robert Frank