Mississippi River, Baton Rouge, Louisiana
American, born Switzerland, 1924-2019
In 1955, Swiss-born Robert Frank received a Guggenheim grant to take photographs throughout the United States. He drove from coast to coast and back again, and published the results of his journey in his historic monograph “The Americans”. Frank was able to look at the American people from the critical perspective of an émigré and encapsulate the tensions of the times—the beginnings of the civil rights movement, the increase in cross-country travel, the growth of consumerism—in his photographs of everyday life. In this picture, the subject kneels beside a cross, the purity of his white clothing a stark contrast against the dreary darkness of the littered background.