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Matinee: 'Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait Of Robert Frank' Share This on LinkedIn   Share This on Google   Tweet This   Forward This

9 November 2013

Saturday matinees long ago let us escape from the ordinary world to the island of the Swiss Family Robinson or the mutinous decks of the Bounty. Why not, we thought, escape the usual fare here with Saturday matinees of our favorite photography films?

So we're pleased to present the seventh in our series of Saturday matinees today: Leaving Home, Coming Home: A Portrait of Robert Frank, Gerald Fox's 49-minute, three-part portrait of Robert Frank from 2005.

"Home" is a central theme in both the documentary and Frank's work. But it's home in the sense of a country more than a kitchen.

Frank's The Americans is a distillation of 83 of the 28,000 images he made as he crossed his adopted home by car in 1955-1956. The trip introduced Frank to the country and the country to itself.

"You learn a lot traveling," he reflected on that trip. "You learn a lot when you're a photographer. And that's what probably makes the difference. If you have some brains and some feeling for people, you're going to be a good photographer."

Born in Switzerland in 1924 where his parents had gone to escape the Nazis, he befriended a photo retoucher who lived close by and learned the craft, providing a peek into a way of life he would otherwise not have encountered.

He talks about that man in this film and of his subsequent travels to Paris and London before finally settling in New York and, later, in Nova Scotia. As he does so, he shows you one or another "picture" as he calls his photographs.

"The pictures have to talk," he explains at one point. "Not me."

To "hear" more from the pictures, enjoy the Robert Frank slide show at Danziger Gallery.

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