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self portrait with caution tape © Robert Sommers 2019

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Can I be Frank?

Robert Frank - Indianapolis, 1956

The great Swiss-American photographer Robert Frank has passed away. There have been many tributes in the media this week. He had a truly amazing eye and vision.

I would have loved to have been able to shoot like Robert Frank. Or Henri Cartier-Bresson. Or Andre Kertesz. Or Diane Arbus. Any of them. Unfortunately they already had their positions filled. I will have to settle for being me.

Robert Sommers - Girl with white shoes on Broadway, Los Angeles
But if I had been a more urban creature, I would certainly have liked to give it my best shot.

Frank was not an equipment snob. Neither was Capa. They shot with basic gear, utilizing their eyes and brains.

Today everybody is a photographer and so nobody is a photographer.

New cameras pump out perfect focus and exposure on request but so many pictures end up saying nothing. That damn vision thing.

The greats like Frank and the rest of the people I mentioned set a very high mark for the rest of us.

One that will be very hard to match and eclipse. No digital photographer will ever ascend to a place next to the titans of film.

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