We talked about Robert Frank's The Americans a lot last year, and I realize that some readers might be suffering from at least a mild case of "Americans fatigue." And then, too, there's the problem that an hour-long audio interview is a big time commitment for a lot of us. Even so, if you're so inclined and you have the time, Bob Edwards' recent interview with curator Sarah Greenough and Frank himself is both unusual and excellent. You can stream it online or download it as a podcast.
(Thanks to Jim Henry and several other readers)
Featured Comment by Sean: "I've downloaded the podcast and look forward to listening to it. Mike, did you notice that Alen MacWeeney left the only comment on the forum? Do you know much about him? My friend bought me his book Irish Travellers, Tinkers No More. It's a great advert for documentary photography and the book is beautifully made."
Mike replies: I don't know Alen, no. I believe he used to teach at the Zone VI Workshops in the '90s, and I've heard he's an expert traditional B&W printer, but that's all I know. I haven't seen his book(s?).
Featured Comment by Joe Cameron: "I saw the Frank show at NGA last weekend and found several things that make the trip worthwhile. First, a look at some of his contact sheets revealing the shots just before and after the ones in the book. If I'm not mistaken the voluminous show catalog includes a contact sheet for every photo in The Americans.
"Second, as an old-timer raised on the 'ethic' of full frame printing, I was surprised by Frank's willingness to crop when it was useful. As an example, 'Hotel Lobby—Miami Beach,' a very tightly cropped vertical, is actually (on the film) a wide horizontal.
"But most interesting of all to me, after devouring and teaching The Americans for nearly forty years, seeing the entire book on gallery walls—all enlarged (vintage?) prints (I would guess 11x14 to maybe 16x20)—was like seeing many of the images for the first time. In several prints I saw details I had never seen in the book prints and found myself 'reading' them in new ways. Without intending a judgment here, this is a prime illustration of just how important image size is to image content, and what a difference there is between silver and printer's ink.
"P.S. Thanks for the link to the recorded interview. Very interesting."