Movie Première, Hollywood

Robert Frank

Zurich, Switzerland, 1924 - Inverness, Nova Scotia, Canada, 2019
  • Series: 
    The Americans
  • Date: 
    1955-1956 (circa) / Vintage print
  • Technique: 
    Gelatin silver print on paper
  • Dimensions: 
    Image: 26,5 x 15,3 cm / Support: 35,5 x 27,8 cm
  • Category: 
  • Entry date: 
  • Register number: 
  • Donation of the author, 2002

The work Movie Première, Hollywood (ca. 1955-1956) forms part of the series compiled in the book The Americans, which was highly influential after its release, particularly within the genre of documentary and street photography. Robert Frank was born in Switzerland and settled in the USA from 1947 onwards. He was able to travel around his adopted country between 1955 and 1956 through a grant he received from the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation; he travelled through 48 States, taking almost 30,000 photos, 83 of which he selected to be put together in book form. The project was rejected by different American publishing houses before finally being published by Robert Delpire in France alongside the writings of Simone de Beauvoir, Erskine Caldwell, William Faulkner, Henry Miller and John Steinbeck. In 1959 it was published in the USA by Grove Press and featured an introduction by Jack Kerouac, the representative writer of the Beat Generation who also shared Frank’s critical vision and interest in showing the contrast between social inequalities and widespread optimism. Frank captured every social class from an ironic perspective, which can be appreciated in the juxtaposition of characters that appears in the photo Movie Première, Hollywood. The book was criticised for its content – dubbed as anti-American and perverse – as well as its style, innovative in its use of out-of-focus shots, laid-back compositions and low lighting.

Concha Calvo Salanova