Books July 23, 2009 By Valerie Palmer
coverplease After Frank
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afterfrank title After Frank

Throughout history there are distinct turning points, an indelible before and after, like the discovery of electricity or onset of the Internet age. Back in 1959, one of those moments occurred when Robert Frank’s seminal tome, The Americans, forever changed the landscape of modern photography. As mentioned in a previous PLANET post, that same collection of photos is currently criss-crossing the country in celebration of its 50th anniversary, so it’s only fitting that a discussion about Frank’s relevancy continues. Philip Gefter’s new book Photography After Frank does just that. In over three dozen essays, the New York Times writer and former picture editor offers his readers brief meditations on contemporary photography, using Frank’s gritty, highly subjective documentary style as his starting point.
     In accessible prose, Gefter’s short essays manage to trace Frank’s influence from the likes of Lee Friedlander and Nan Goldin to Stephen Shore and Ryan McGinley. All along the way, he offers readers brief snippets — many of the pieces have been taken from the Times or Aperture magazine, so they’re no more than four pages — on individual photographers and subjects like photo-realism or the market’s effect on art-making.

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