VII | VII Observations

Older Sisters Rule

A young girl dreams of becoming a summer festival queen like her older sister, Conesville, Iowa.

In Driftless, Danny Wilcox Frazier's dramatic black-and-white photographs portray a changing Midwest of vanishing towns and transformed landscapes. As rural economies fail, people and resources are migrating to the coasts and cities, as though the heart of America were being emptied. Frazier's arresting photographs take us into Iowa's abandoned places and illuminate the lives of those people who stay behind and continue to live there: young people at leisure, fishermen on the Mississippi, veterans on Memorial Day, Amish women playing cards, as well as more recent arrivals, Lubavitcher Hasidic Jews at prayer and Latinos at work in the fields. Frazier is the third recipient of the biennial Center for Documentary Studies/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography. Robert Frank, one of America’s preeminent photographers, judged the prize, selecting Frazier’s work from over 400 entries. Robert Frank also wrote the foreword to Frazier’s prize-winning book. © Danny Wilcox Frazier

Robert Frank is a Swiss-born photographer and documentary filmmaker who was born November 9, 1924. He started studying photography in 1941 and for six years worked in Zurich, Basel, and Geneva for graphic design and commercial photography studios. Frank was compared to a present-day de Tocqueville after the release of his provocative 1958 book titled The Americans for his modern and nuanced take on American society. Critic Sean O'Hagan of The Guardian wrote in 2014 that The Americans "changed the nature of photography, what it could say and how it could say it." The Americans is one of the most influential photography books of the 20th century and Frank himself is arguably the most influential photographer alive.

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Posted in: Photography, VII Observations

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