US 91, leaving Blackfoot, Idaho
Switzerland, United States of America
This image was an important inclusion in Robert Frank’s explosive 1958 book The Americans. A book of 83 photographs published first in France and then in the US in 1959, America was revealed as a country and culture deeply flawed. Perhaps only an outsider (Frank was Swiss) could have presented such a dispassionate view of the realities of post War USA. US 91, Leaving Blackfoot Idaho shows two young men picked up by the photographer. Though the men seem intently focussed on the road, the car windows are blank. A text by the English philosopher and statesman Francis Bacon is in the visor; this Frank had copied down when he visited Dorothea Lange before he set off on his epic journey to find the heart of America. That text reads: 'The contemplation of things as they are/without error or confusion/without substitution or imposture/is in itself a nobler thing/than a whole harvest of invention.'
gelatin silver photograph
20.4 x 30 cm image; 27.6 x 35.2 cm sheet
Signature & date
Signed l.r., recto sheet, black ink 'Robert Frank.' Dated l.l., recto sheet, black ink, '...1956'
Purchased with funds provided by The Russell Mills Foundation, 2015
Not on display
© Robert Frank, from The Americans