How Robert Frank’s Vision Influenced And Inspired Generations Of Photographers

Some of America’s top photojournalists, including VII’s Maggie Steber, share their thoughts on Robert Frank and his work in this article on NPR. 

“As a young photographer starting out, as with so many others, The Americans by Robert Frank was my bible, my how-to book and my main inspiration as a documentary photographer. From Robert Frank’s work I learned how to visualize things without being so obvious, especially things about which we should be skeptical. I learned that the simplest photograph might carry the greatest meaning.

Each time I had an assignment, I would and still do go and look at The Americans for inspiration. But perhaps more important is that his photographs educated me about issues and about the human experience. Some images broke my heart with their sadness that avoided sentimentality. Some images taught me about things I didn’t know about. When school taught me I had to be objective, Robert Frank’s work taught me that I should be subjective and commit to something. It wasn’t just about photography by a master photographer. It was about understanding and feeling that a photograph might, if nothing else, inform us and change us and that it was important to be committed to something that was larger than ourselves. I loved him and I pray his work will never be lost to future generations.”  Maggie Steber