Frank’s seminal The Americans is a landmark in photographic history, the most important and influential book of photographs produced since World War II. Frank expresses these images as his attempt “to show a cross-section of the American population. My effort was to express it simply and without confusion.” The Americans is an intensely personal document, a portrait of a country that is a self-portrait of the photographer as well.
The exhibition includes the eighty-three silver gelatin prints reproduced in the book The Americans and presents these in the same sequential order. Its presentation is an especially important exhibition for The Museum of Contemporary Photography, in particular, because the when Museum began building its permanent collection it used the year 1959, the American publication date of Frank’s book, as the defining date for what it considered to be the start of contemporary photography. Hence, the presentation of this exhibition is significant as the Museum celebrates its accreditation by the American Association of Museums, Washington DC.