Not all tall buildings in New York hold the promise of glitz and glamour. I would venture to say that the “sky terrace” on this building is vastly different than the one I experienced at the Hudson Hotel in Manhattan.
I’ve been challenged by Robert Frank’s willingness to defy the status quo and his intentional pairing of contrasting images to tell a story. As a photographer he did more than capture compelling images, he captured moments, peoples, history, pain, purpose, and in doing so he told a story—their story and his own. It is through that lens, I chose this photo.
This is what Jack Kerouac said of Robert Frank:
Robert Frank, Swiss, unobtrusive, nice, with that little camera that he raises and snaps, with one hand he sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world.
Elizabeth Kunreuther wrote:
Frank’s pictures broke all the rules of photography. Photography before Frank was pristine: carefully focused, carefully lit. Frank would intentionally lose focus, his work was shadowy and grainy, full of unconventional cropping and angles. He broke the rules in order to be true to his vision of America he saw in his travels across the country in 1955 and 1956. Frank’s work clashed with the prevailing trend in photography.
In 1958 Frank himself wrote:
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…. It is important to see what is invisible to others—perhaps the look of hope or the look of sadness.
What will be said of me when someone views the body of my work at the end of this year or the end of my life? What will they say of you? Are you seeing the invisible?
Manual: Page 119—Caring for the Camera. Battery cleaning and storage. Notes on the monitor. Basic stuff.