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Archive for July, 2015

Robert Frank and The Americans

Friday, July 10th, 2015

Image from The Americans

A rich new profile of photographer and filmmaker Robert Frank and his seminal work The Americans appeared in the July 2nd, 2015 New York Times. In 1955, with support secured by his mentor Walker Evans, the Swiss native Robert Frank began a series of road trips across America, visiting cities such as New Orleans and Los Angeles and more remote locales like Butte, Montana. Along the way he took 27,000 photographs and culled the lot down to 83 in his photographic monograph, The Americans, which was published in France in 1958 and the U.S. in 1960, with an introduction by Jack Kerouac.

Robert Frank

Times reporter Nicholas Dawidoff calls Frank (at 90), “the most influential photographer alive” and writes that art critic Peter Schjedahl considers The Americans “one of the basic American masterpieces of any medium.” Writing about the perceptive work in the New Yorker Anthony Lane asks, “was there ever a book as full of looking as Robert Frank’s?”

On publication, The Americans was panned for its critical gaze. Over time it has been praised for its unflinching look at race relations and for seeking out moments that were typically unseen.

Learn more about The Americans and Robert Frank:

Books at Bailey/Howe

The Americans book cover

The Americans by Robert Frank, with an introduction by Jack Kerouac

Robert Frank's The Americans by Jonathan Day

Robert Frank’s The Americans : the art of documentary photography by Jonathan Day

“Jonathan Day revisits this pivotal work and contributes a thoughtful and revealing critical commentary. Though the importance of The Americans has been widely acknowledged, it still retains much of its mystery. This comprehensive analysis places it thoroughly in the context of contemporary photography, literature, music, and advertising from its own period through the present.”

Looking in: Robert Frank's The Americans

Looking in : Robert Frank’s The Americans by Sarah Greenough

“Looking In: Robert Frank’s “The Americans” celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of this prescient book. Drawing on newly examined archival sources, it provides a fascinating in-depth examination of the making of the photographs and the book’s construction, using vintage contact sheets, work prints and letters that literally chart Frank’s journey around the country on a Guggenheim grant in 1955-56.”

Postcards from the Road book cover

Postcards from the road : Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’ by Jonathan Day

“Jonathan Day has created a book that expounds, explores, and examines Frank’s work pictorially. Taking Frank’s iconic images as his point of reference, he shot new photographs that comment on the road and contemporary America.”

Streaming video

american_journey

An American journey : In Robert Frank’s footsteps

“Filmmaker Philippe Séclier decided to follow in Frank’s footsteps, retracing his path step by step. From Texas to Montana, from Nebraska to Louisiana, from New York to San Francisco, An American Journey is a 15,000 mile odyssey through contemporary America, moving between past and present, photography and cinema – beautifully capturing the wandering spirit of Robert Frank’s legendary journey.”

[UVM and FAHC affiliates can watch this documentary-length film online].

Image from The Americans

Around the web

The Man Who Saw America by Nicholas Dawidoff
New York Times, July 2, 2015

Road Show by Anthony Lane
New Yorker, September 14, 2009

Robert Frank’s Elevator Girl Sees Herself Years Later
NPR, August 30, 2009

Robert Frank's Elevator Girl

Popular Historic Tours of Campus Resume July 4

Thursday, July 9th, 2015
One stop on the tour: Billings Library, designed by leading 19th century architect H.H. Richardson, completed in 1885. (Photo: Sally McCay)

One stop on the tour: Billings Library, designed by leading 19th century architect H.H. Richardson, completed in 1885. (Photo: Sally McCay)

By Jeffrey Wakefield

The University of Vermont launched the 2015 season of its popular historic tours on July 4. Led by UVM emeritus professor William Averyt, the free, weekly tours take place Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon through Oct. 10. The tour begins at the statue of Ira Allen, just to the south of the fountain on the UVM green. There is no tour on Aug. 15.

UVM was founded in 1791, the fifth oldest university in New England, and it boasts both an array of historic buildings, including more than a dozen on the National Register of Historic Places, and a collection of fascinating personalities.

The architectural highlights of the tour include the Old Mill, completed in 1829, whose cornerstone was laid by the Marquis de Lafayette; the Billings Library, completed in 1885, which leading 19th century architect H.H. Richardson considered among his finest buildings; and Grasse Mount, a brick Federal style mansion built in 1804 by a local merchant, which later served as the residence of Vermont governor Cornelius P. Van Ness.

Tour guide Averyt also brings to life the fascinating personalities who animate UVM’s long history. Founder Ira Allen, for instance, was both a revolutionary war hero and sometimes slippery real estate speculator. UVM’s third president, James Marsh, introduced Coleridge’s philosophical work to America, influenced Emerson and other transcendentalists, and made innovations leading to the modern university curriculum.
Royall Tyler, a member of Vermont’s Supreme Court in the early 19th century, taught jurisprudence at the university and is said to be one of the models for the villain of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s House of the Seven Gables, Judge Pyncheon. And 1879 alumnus John Dewey, whose grave is on campus, is considered one of America’s greatest philosophers.

“UVM’s history is a great yarn to be sure, but it also resonates with significance,” said Averyt. “Through figures like Marsh and Dewey, the university played an important role in shaping modern American thought.”

For more information on the tour and to register, visit www.uvm.edu/historictour.

For more news from UVM Communications, visit http://www.uvm.edu/~uvmpr/.