Robert Frank Redux – Another look at the films and photography of Robert Frank – Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London

  • Region: London
  • Type: Symposium
  • Cost: Free

Robert Frank Redux – Another Look at the films and photography of Robert Frank – Goldsmiths University, London September 22nd. 2-4pm – hosted by the English and Creative Writing Dept.

With Robert Frank’s passing in 2019, the time is ripe for a re-appraisal of his immensely varied oeuvre. Taking Frank’s adage ‘I’m always looking outside, trying to look inside” as its starting point, this symposium on the Swiss/American photographer will re-examine the formal and emotional properties of Frank’s work and in the process trace his move from being the quintessential ‘outsider’ documentarian of America in the 1950s to his more ‘inward’ photography and film work from the 1960s onwards. The session will look both at his early iconic work The Americans (1958), the nature of iconicity within this work, and Frank’s later use of polaroids, films and video as a way to inscribe meaning into the frame through writing, fragmentation and other forms of articulation. Always mindful of the mnemonic potential of the camera, Frank’s willingness to establish an autobiographical contract between himself and the reader/viewer, epitomised how the documentary ethos took an experimental as well as lyrical turn in the post war era. Frank’s blurring of a private inner life and its public consumption was hugely influential as was his continued desire to question both the limits and potential of the photographic medium, a search that is also traceable – as this session will chart, in the anti-cinematic, experimental nature of his films and videos and their continued influence on the American art scene.

Speakers and Papers:

  1. Thinking through the icon: Robert Frank’s The Americans (1958), Sarah Garland. Senior Lecturer in American Studies, (U. of East Anglia).
  2. “Reading the lines of his hand” – Robert Frank’s Re-edition of The Lines of My Hand (1972, 1989), Nicolo Giudice, Course Leader of Photography, (U. of Bedfordshire)
  3. Possessions and Souvenirs: The Grammar of Objects in Robert Frank’s Still Life Polaroids, Caroline Blinder, Reader in American Literature and Culture, (Goldsmiths)
  4. “Trying to Look Inside”: On The Films and Videos of Robert Frank’, Mark Durden, Professor of Photography (U. of South Wales)

The Event will take place in the Small Cinema, Richard Hoggart Building, Goldsmiths University, New Cross, London – Friday 22nd of Sept. 2-5 pm.

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