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ROBERT FRANK
[b. 1924] American documentary photographer and filmmaker
I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others. Perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph. - Robert Frank - Page 115 of U.S. Camera 1958. Published by the U.S. Camera Publishing Corp. in 1957.

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. - Robert Frank

You can photograph anything now. - Robert Frank

...to make a contemporaneous authentic document, the visual impact should be so easy to avoid any explanation. - Robert Frank

To produce an authentic contemporary document, the visual impact should be such as will nullify explanation. - Robert Frank

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

Black and white are the colors of photography. To me they symbolize the alternatives of hope and despair to which mankind is forever subjected. Most of my photographs are of people; they are seen simply, as through the eyes of the man in the street. There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough--there has to be vision, and the two together can make a good photograph. It is difficult to describe this thin line where matter ends and mind begins. - Robert Frank - From pages 20-22 of Aperture, vol. 9, no. 1 (1961)

I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others--perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph. - Robert Frank

My photographs are not planned or composed in advance and I do not anticipate that the onlooker will share my viewpoint. However, I feel that if my photograph leaves an image on his mind--something has been accomplished. - Robert Frank

I’ve never been successful at making films, really. I’ve never been able to do it right. And there’s something terrific about that. There’s something good about being a failure--it keeps you going. - Robert Frank - 1975

I wished my photographs (the old ones) would move - or talk - to be a little more alive. But I can't talk for them. That's why there's so much written about photography today - by "experts". Contemporary photography is competent, often exquisite. It's easy to look at, and I prefer it if it's not in colour and not about whores in India or South America. The few photographs I'm trying to make show my interior against the landscape I'm in. At times I put in words -Soup - Strength - Fate - Blind. - Robert Frank

Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. - Robert Frank

After the success of The Americans, I didn't want to repeat myself, and so you keep looking for something. And it continues, even when I go back to my old stuff. So this search is something more interior, related to my sentimentality. I always say that I don't want to be sentimental, that the photographs shouldn't be sentimental, and yet, I am conscious of my sentimentality. - Robert Frank - from the interview in the back of "Hold Still Keep Going"

You do your work as a photographer and everything immediately becomes past. Words are more like thoughts; the photographer's picture is always surrounded by a kind of romantic glamor - no matter what you do, and how you twist it. - Robert Frank - from the interview in the back of "Hold Still Keep Going"

I have been frequently accused of deliberately twisting subject matter to my point of view. Above all, I know that life for a photographer cannot be a matter of indifference. Opinion often consists of a kind of criticism. But criticism can come out of love. It is important to see what is invisible to others. Perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness. Also, it is always the instantaneous reaction to oneself that produces a photograph. - Robert Frank - [cited in: Creative Camera March 1968, p. 99] This is from page 115 of U.S.Camera 1958. Published by the U.S. Camera Publishing Corp. in 1957.

A message picture is something that's simply too clear. - Robert Frank, Disappearing Witness: Change in Twentieth-Century American Photography by Gretchen Garner , ISBN: 0801871670
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Somber people and black events quite people and peaceful places and the things people have come in contact with this, I try to show in my photographs. - Robert Frank

There is one thing the photograph must contain, the humanity of the moment. This kind of photography is realism. But realism is not enough – there has to be vision and the two together can make a good photograph. It is difficult to describe this thin line where matter ends and mind begins. - Robert Frank - 1962, World History of Photography by Naomi Rosenblum , ISBN: 0789209462 , Page: 516
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When people look at my pictures I want them to feel the way they do when they want to read a line of a poem twice. - Robert Frank - LIFE (26 November 1951), p. 21
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Well...you know, tomorrow I might answer the question differently. But I think it means that I would like to talk or show things that I really know about. It would be more truthful to talk about people that I know very well. For instance, I wouldn't go to Indonesia and photograph people or whatever. Not today, at least. - Robert Frank - On the question: "What do you mean by that word, "truth"?"

Black and white are the colours of photography. - Robert Frank - "What digital camera" November 2012, (PDEF version), p. 14

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