Road Show – The journey of Robert Frank’s “The Americans.”

Road Show – The journey of Robert Frank’s “The Americans.”

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In June, 1955, Robert Frank bought a car. It was a Ford Business Coupe, five years old, sold by Ben Schultz, of New York. From there, Frank drove by himself to Detroit, where he visited the Ford River Rouge plant, in Dearborn, as if taking the coupe home to see its family. Later that summer, he headed south to Savannah, and, with the coming of fall, set off from Miami Beach to St. Petersburg, and then struck out on a long, diversionary loop to New Orleans, and thence to Houston, for a rendezvous with his wife, Mary, and their two children, Pablo and Andrea. Together, they went west, arriving in Los Angeles in the nick of Christmastime. They stayed on the Pacific Coast until May of the following year, when Mary and the children returned to New York. Frank, however, still wasn’t done. Alone again, he made the trip back, going via Reno and Salt Lake City, then pushing north on U.S. 91 to Butte, Montana. From there, it was a deep curve, though a swift one, through Wyoming, Nebraska, and Iowa to Chicago, where he turned south; at last, by early June, Frank and his Ford Business, his partner for ten thousand miles, were back in New York. It had been a year, more or less, since he embarked, and there was much to reflect upon. Luckily, he’d taken a few photographs along the way.

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