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Robert Frank’s Legacy: Nine Photographers Reflect

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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

Robert Frank revolutionized documentary photography, embedding “the snapshot aesthetic” into visual culture. His boundary-breaking career spanned more than six decades, influencing generations of photographers and transcending genres.

Here, nine contemporary photographers reflect on how he and his seminal book, “The Americans,” had an impact on their work. Their comments have been edited for clarity and length.

Eli Reed

Eli Reed was the first African-American full member of Magnum Photos, joining the agency in 1988.

I met Robert Frank while covering a demonstration outside the 1984 National Democratic Convention in San Francisco. I was surprised that he was using a small, amateur 35-millimeter camera that could have disappeared inside my large hands.

I do not remember the conversation about that particular camera, my only thought being that I was inside a conversation with a man who helped me grab onto a ready-to-launch understanding of the importance of being inside visual truths for the right reasons and not advertisements for the self.

He was an ultimate truth seeker who laid pathways for others to follow. His lot was to do the work that would inspire and call to arms those willing to go forward into battle with a clear sense of what it takes to stand your visual ground with the photographs that were painfully truthful.

Justine Kurland

Justine Kurland is known for her utopian photographs of American landscapes and the fringe communities, both real and imagined, that inhabit them.

I’ve needed Robert Frank differently throughout my life — his Jewishness, his downtown-ness, his irreverence toward photographic convention. Once, when I studied at Yale, he arrived as a visiting artist. We all pinned our photographs to the wall for critique, and he admonished us for being safe and dull. “You have so much privilege,” he said. “You could do anything you want. And this is what you make? This?”

“The Americans” changed the possibilities of road-trip photography through radical subjectivity. Every picture is first and foremost a picture of Frank; it reflects an exterior world through the bias of an interior psyche: the view of Butte, Montana framed through his hotel curtains, the barbershop chair made visible through his silhouette on the plate glass window, the hitchhikers driving his car, with Frank the passenger.

But the picture I return to again and again traveling on road trips with my son during the first decade of his life is the last one in “The Americans.” Frank’s wife and son, June and Pablo, sleep inside the car on a shoulder of U.S. 90 in Texas. They slide unconsciously to the left, alone and vulnerable. I imagine sticky places on the seat beside them, and Cheerios ground into the floor mats, the sweet smell of gasoline and the sour smell of unwashed bodies.

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What’s on TV Monday: ‘An Elephant Sitting Still’ on Criterion and a PBS Documentary

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AN ELEPHANT SITTING STILL (2019) Stream on The Criterion Channel. Hu Bo’s first and only feature film follows four characters over the course of a single day in a grimly industrial city in Northern China. For almost four hours their lonely, depressing lives are slowly woven together against the backdrop of a stifling society and an indifferent world and. After one character, Wei Bu (Peng Yuchang), a student at a mediocre school, sees his attempt to stand up to a bully backfire, he flees the bully’s brother, Yu Cheng (Zhang Yu). He is joined by Huang Ling (Wang Yuwen), a classmate embroiled in an affair with a school official, and Wang Jin (Liu Congxi), a man estranged from his family. “Unsparing as Hu’s anatomy of moral drift may be, there is something graceful in his sympathetic attention to lives defined almost entirely by disappointment and diminished hope,” A.O. Scott wrote in his review for The Times.

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Geeta Sharma "Ukkali Chadhaula" – LIVE -The Voice of Nepal Season 2 – 2019

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Ukkali Chadhaula …..
Original Singer: Uday Sotang / Manila Sotang
Lyrics: Krishna Abigal
Music: Uday Sotang

Created By
John De Mol

Directed by / Project Head
Laxman Paudyal

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Pralhad Singh Mahat

Executive Producer / HOST
Sushil Nepal

Director Of Photography
Arjun Tiwari

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Karan Raj Karki

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Sohan Manandhar

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Sadikchya Acharya

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Prabhat Rimal

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Utsab Regmi
Garima Tamang

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Suprim Parajuli

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Suresh Manandhar

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Binesh Rai

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Jeevan Rijal
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Sushil Baniya

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Suresh Thapa
Krishna Tamang “Garib”

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Kumud Rajbhandari

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Ukesh Pariyar
Suresh Shrestha

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Debesh Rai

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Pankaj Bishwokarma

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Sandip Rai

Art Director
Raja Gupta

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Manoj Poudel

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Binod Shrestha

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Himalaya Television HD

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