My last post was about the photography of Elliott Erwitt. One of the photographs I posted was an intimate photograph of Robert Frank and his wife. This post is about Robert Frank's photography, and this is a quote by Elliot Erwitt on the photography of Robert Frank.
"Quality doesn't mean deep blacks and whatever tonal range. That's not quality, that's a kind of quality. The pictures of Robert Frank might strike someone as being sloppy - the tone range isn't right and things like that - but they're far superior to the pictures of Ansel Adams with regard to quality, because the quality of Ansel Adams, if I may say so, is essentially the quality of a postcard. But the quality of Robert Frank is a quality that has something to do with what he's doing, what his mind is. It's not balancing out the sky to the sand and so forth. It's got to do with intention."- Elliott Erwitt
This is my favorite photograph by Robert Frank. This image is from his seminal book, The Americans, and I feel it perfectly illustrates what Elliott Erwitt is referring to in this quote. What is usually written about this image is how it turns around the cliché of stargazing and, by doing so, comments on our obsession with celebrity, but I see something more in this image.
I love the multiple points of interest in this image. The starlet is blurred in the foreground and stares vacantly out of the frame. Her eyes are smudged black and look flat and lifeless. In focus in the background is a crowd of onlookers, and If you really look at where they are looking you will notice that none of them are actually looking at her. Maybe they were looking at her the moment before his shutter clicked, but they no longer are. They are now looking at something else that has caught their attention. Could there be something more important, more famous, more interesting, and/or more beautiful to look at now?