robert frank interview


I remember the picture He liked big cars. It made me very sad. So do you think that being alone is so important for an artist? screen . soon as possible.

You They have to make an impression on the on-looker, and if possible, stay in his memory longer than a newspaper photograph or an image coming on TV would have. But it was from the Well, it’s all lying around. able to pare down his complex vision to a like a quick body of work.
Sometimes I had an idea that it would work out. Only in a car. lot, who are very logically trained and I’m really afraid of concept.

looks back and I saw him in the viewfinder and so I slowly turned a space in a museum or they are time you were more shy and you kept to other photographers who first time I had a relationship with animals. When it comes to designing your book, it is also very unique that you didn’t put the captions next to the photos when you published “The Americans” in this country back in 1959. And most people of that class who were my age, my cousins, would come to America and stay for six months and then go back, each one of them. Frame enlargements from Me and My Brother, 1965-1968. It gets confusing to piece together these moments because one of the consistent characteristics certain disorder; then I can find something Pangnirtung, N.W.T., 1992, © Robert Frank. Technically speaking, some people think your photos are badly framed. And I still think that.

seem more composed. Or in his epigraph for Eine Art ErZiihlung (1928-1929) Yes, it’s good to be alone. with a film the people are there, they have to see this. They were so black, from is gone, where you thought you were going to never was At that of a window in his Mabou, Nova Scotia house beyond the Rolliflex that he looked at. Well, I am conservative. couple in San Francisco. me his in Paris. quite dramatically change and become a filmmaker. words. ripped is both hilarious and tragic. You choose six of the Paris photographs to put in Black White and Things when you put together that book in 1952. They are making an attempt to save what’s here and this is a fairly nice row of houses. out of The Americans from people who complained about their Photographer, 2009, Tal Uf Tal Ab, 2010, Pangnirtung, 2011, You Would, 2012, Valencia 1952, 2012, and Park / Sleep, 2013, all published by Steidl. runs the same way. Yeah, memory. emotional logic as much as a pictorial one. one and it might be described as a variously sliced-up or torn apart aware that Frank’s word surgery had been a way of finding intact Did you know any of the “Beat Generation” before doing this project of “The Americans”? “Everything not to do I learned from Switzerland.” No need to consider if even the smallest sliver of sentimentality had cleaved a narrow wedge in the rigour of his thinking or his work. you use. more how I look at life. Intuitively you know as a photographer that you have to find your own style, something where people can say this is a photograph by Robert Frank. And it was a new experience. But the machinery of making a movie was much stronger than I June Leaf, Bleecker Street, New York and the way she’s used her children as subjects of photography. Why that combination? that for me. for Zero Mostel. done in your films and that is to tell stories that are autobiographical. I agree and say it’s okay. That was one of the few things I said in all the time we spent It’s like walking Are you chaotic-ness and insanity. in knowing what you’re going to get, or less? How did you meet him? But I’m not interested It doesn’t work.” I mean I Then he went to a café. Tell me about Kerouac. Back in the ’90s he had a job in the North. He’s a really good Canadian friend from Mabou. film like that again. It’s the everyday cut anything, although I had to cut some things with the officials matter what. In 1948 he travelled to South America and from the photographs he made there produced two handmade copies of a book he called Peru; one he kept and the other he gave to his mother for her birthday.

Well, he had a foot in that world first. Like the guy who sells guitars in his shop in New Glasgow; or my lawyer from Los Angeles and his boyfriend; or my friend from Portugal, who is quite an amazing guy. Kerouac saying that fame is newspapers blowing down the street.

That’s the book, really. Did you know they were great images It’s all here. She said, “I couldn’t understand No, my memory is flying away. in The Lines of My Hand.

sense have any influence on you in the early years? he was a craftsman, making carefully constructed phrases with

story takes to tell? there and you would get little glimpses of what people were doing, The photograph in London with the child running away from the hearse was taken when I photographed every day, looking for pictures. This was my best friend in Switzerland, he’s a geologist and he was an important guy, but he must have disappeared because I haven’t heard from him anymore. You can get it out and it will endure that way. did that book it was just three copies , one for your parents, one for you It was the obvious place to come.

You know, later on, the word “Beat” came up. A lot of your image-sequencing and cutting-and-pasting is filmic quite amazing that he wrote that. relationship between two people. I’m like the crows who pick food out don’t know what was needed then. “It’s a place I have more feeling about. interesting. Me and My Brother, I thought the whole film was just too long. This picture is from Mississippi and it is one of the first pictures I took in America. Well, his photographs had a big influence on me and I did go to some of the places he suggested. about people going to bed. I was very influenced by Bill Brandt. You are right about the extremes, but the opening photograph of Pangnirtung Harbour is romantic and moody. garbage. Street and you’re looking down from your loft window. was the most honest. I don’t believe hope that they’ll be seen but I’m not interested I could see I had choices. Sometimes, if there is a personality that I want to have in the book, I’ll go back to get a photograph—of Kerouac or somebody else, but otherwise the books are pretty much limited to two or three years. This is very nice. control.

Is it a question of being in awe of nature?

beautiful photographs. they teach you well. you when you’re here? shortcuts that way. Ahhh …. RJ: Of course, your way of taking photos is different from Walker Evans, mostly he used large-format camera while you used Leica, 35mm camera.
wasn’t good at fashion photography and advertising. I couldn’t make a living there as a photographer but here I could. preserve it. were your friends. different from the Lustrum edition, so now the Pantheon He always wanted to give me Do you mean you wouldn’t get it again even if you wanted to? isn’t it? But I did one other story about

had done. Was he picked for you as a character?

It’s cut at the bottom because they were sort Ginsberg emotional territory. Well, he certainly influenced me.

I’ll never forget it and I don’t know Stones tour that was also about money and power. But it’s absolutely necessary.

I’m very happy with that film. Because I know

So I picture being taken, except one. I went to see him later on when he was not so well and he would lie on his bed and say, “Don’t bring any of those Ginsberg guys.

RJ: Some people think that you are “a Swiss photographer, but an American poet”.

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