Postcards from the Road (Book)
Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’
Walker Evans said in his 1958 introduction to Robert Frank’s The Americans, “For the thousandth time, it must be said that pictures speak for themselves, wordlessly, visually, or they fail.” The images revolutionized postwar American photography. With their candid images of men and women from all classes and walks of life, the photographs presented a very different story than that portrayed by the wholesome caricature of midcentury prosperity pervading American photography at the time. Although initially dismissed by his peers for his pioneering work, Frank was ultimately credited with changing the course of the art form, and his photography holds a secure status in the history of twentieth-century art. And he did all this without words. It seems appropriate then – and not a little overdue – that Jonathan Day has created a book that expounds, explores, and examines Frank’s work pictorially.
Taking Frank’s iconic images as his point of reference, Day shot new photographs that commented on the road and contemporary America. Here, these images are paired with critical commentary that details the aspects of the work that are visually expounded and explained in Day’s complementary images. A visual entryway to the photographs and themes of this iconic book in the history of photography, Postcards from the Road represents an innovative, carefully considered departure from standard photographic textbooks.
Dr Jonathan Day teaches Documentary Photography to postgraduates and is senior lecturer in visual communications and theoretical and historical studies in art and design.