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photo essay 1 - Tricia Mittman History 328 Assignment 1 The...

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Tricia Mittman History 328 Assignment 1 9/16/2010 The photo book The Americans was produced by Robert Frank in 1959 and contains 83 images from Frank’s journey across the United States. Of these images, “Public Park – Ann Arbor, Michigan” is the one I chose to study because of both my personal connection to Ann Arbor, and because the setting and content create an image that is iconic of American life in the 1950s. Robert Frank was born in 1924 in Zurich, Switzerland to a wealthy Jewish family during the time of the World Wars. A divided Europe created huge crisis for European Jews, however throughout the era Switzerland remained neutral, creating a safe haven for refugees. Frank’s family was extremely fortunate that they did not face the oppression that so many Jews went through. However, the surrounding violence was prevalent and Frank learned to express himself creatively through photography. Frank trained under professional photographers, and released his first book in Switzerland at age 22. Soon after, he immigrated to the U.S. to further his passion, and secured a job as a fashion photographer for Harper’s Bazaar . Because he was one of few Jews able to travel the world, he took advantage of his fortune and journeyed to South America and Europe, arriving back in 1950 with two photo books from his travels. He continued photographing for magazines such as Fortune and Vogue . His freelance work gained considerable recognition, and in 1954, he applied for a Guggenheim fellowship to create “a record of what an observant naturalized American finds and sees in the United States.” He received the grant with help from his mentor Walker Evans, and began this
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