Laura Israel’s film is dedicated to the versatile work of photographer Robert Frank, showing the important moments of his life and exploring the time when he was shooting for Look, Life and Vogue magazines.
A living classic of American photography, Robert Frank is often referred to as a “photography beatnik”: he neglected fame and money, and was close friends with William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, who wrote the introduction to Frank’s iconic photobook The Americans.
The film opens with the story of the latter. In 1957, the young photographer received a Guggenheim scholarship and set out on a journey across the country, taking 28,000 shots in the process, from which the The Americans was born. Captured by Frank’s camera, the life of ordinary people appeared so controversial in America, that the U.S. edition of The Americans was only published a year after the book was released in Paris in 1958.
Over the next decades, Frank was preoccupied with video and film and recording rock musicians before returning to photography. Director, Laura Israel, who has been editor of all of Robert Frank’s films since the 1990s, had a challenging task—to compile a homogenous portrait of her teacher and friend from the miscellaneous material she had access to. Israel achieved it masterfully, creating a compelling feature with a notable soundtrack that gives an idea of the zeitgeist of the era and the milieu of the outstanding photographer.
Don’t Blink – Robert Frank
Dir. Laura Israel, 82 minutes, USA, 2015
This screening is organized in collaboration with PERFORM Festival of Films about Art.