Photographer – Robert Frank

Robert Frank was a renowned photographer in the United States and he was born in Zurich, Switzerland on 9th of November 1924. He begun his career in photography as an apprentice where he learned his skills by observing the works of legendary photographers.

Robert has in- depth knowledge in photography because he was very aggressive from the beginning of his career. In fact he visited many cities within U.S. and managed to take multiple photos but then he found himself behind the bars because some people thought he was spying on them.

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It is certain that he had a passion for his career and that’s why he visited many countries just for the love of photography. He was very intelligent because he took his photos without attracting attention and when he did he was smart enough to cover his intentions. In photography one needs to be cautious because in some instances photographers can be prosecuted for taking photos of sensitive places such as army barracks, and to be sincere Robert was put behind bars because he was thought to be a spy.

A look at some of his images indicate that during those days photos were without color because most of his initial images are in black and white but the element of lighting and shadowing is excellent. This shows that he knew how to position himself to enhance the contrast in his photos.

By then automatic cameras had not been invented hence he relied on the sun to provide lighting. If the same photos were to be taken today they would be much better because technology has made things to be easy, hence editing of photos is less tiring because it is done using computers.

Robert cropped his photos accurately without loosing the intended message of the photo. Perhaps people who don’t know the history of U.S. should take a look at the works of Robert and realize that every city has its own history because one will notice that some of the objects captured in his photos are not present today. The photos imply that Americans are very conscious people because of the fashion displayed in these photos.

Robert seemed to have the right connections which provided a platform to display his photos during exhibitions and he may have exchanged ideas with fellow photographers hence beginners should consult photographers who have made it in this field. Every job has its challenges and so is photography as evidenced by Robert.

A photographer should then be alert while taking photos because he could be met with a lot of hostility and I think that’s why presidents all over the world have their designated photographers because studies have shown that photography can be abused.

Robert employed minimal light in his photos which made them stand out from the rest. May be he was capitalizing on the element of lighting to create a light tone in his images. Most of his images have unique focus which displays his attention to detail.

This element is evidenced by Rodeo (see appendix) which was taken in 1954 in New York city because one can not identify the face of the guy who is leaning on the dustbin but since Robert’s photos were not edited there is a lot of reality in this photo because it gives the exact image that one expects according to the focus of the camera.

If the photo was taken from another position, say the focus was on the left hand side, the man’s face would be recognizable. But then, it seems Robert took this photo without the knowledge of his subject and he must have been on the same level with his subject. Rodeo seems to have been cropped on the left hand side to erase the protruding shadow at the bottom of the left hand side edge. He did not crop the right hand side that much because it seems he wanted to emphasize on the debris on the streets of New York.

Photos that are not colored reveal a lot of other images that cannot be identified in colored photos. The disadvantage of such photos is that the viewer cannot distinguish colors because all colors are either black or white. If a digital or automatic camera had been used the light in this image would unveil the face of this man. The background of this image blends the colors of other objects in the image such as the adjacent buildings because they look like they have a uniform color.

Robert seemed to have taken this photo at a close range because the length of the image implies so. The emphasis of this image is on the young guy and the untidy streets. This photo can change one’s attitude about New York since most people think it is very clean because of its fame. The impression created by this photo illustrate that the background of a photo is very important and that’s why most people look at their surrounding when they are posing for a photo.

This photo has changed my perception on photography. Rodeo does not have desirable elements of a photo because the image suggests that the photo is a reality due to the subject not being induced to pose and sincerely this image indicate that pictures that are taken without informing the subject have much clarity because when most people are posing for a photo they usually smile and look directly at the lens of the camera. To prove my point I recently took a photo without looking at the camera directly.

If one wishes to add contrast he/she opt to use an automatic camera because it can sense where there is inadequate lighting and thus turn the flash light on as opposed to manual cameras that cannot detect darkness. When one is about take a photo he should relax and stand still to make sure the image is not distorted.

Appendix

Rodeo, New York City, 1955 by Robert Frank.

Source: The Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2000|). “Robert Frank: Rodeo, New York City (1992.5162.3)”. Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History. New York. Retrieved from http://www.metmuseum.org/toah/works-of-art/1992.5162.3

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