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Seeing The Americans in a college bookshop was a stunning, ground-trembling experience for me. But I realized this man’s achievement could not be mined or imitated in any way, because he had already done it, sewn it up and gone home. What I was left with was the vapors of his talent. I had to make my own kind of art.
There is undoubtedly no book that has packed a greater punch in modern photography than Frank’s The Americans. It is a morose and gritty document of the American landscape and street corner. [. . .] If you see the photographs today, nothing about them looks scandalous. Rather, everything appears normal. It’s as though Frank predicted the future. A car, a jukebox—they became the symbols of our lives. We were ruled by our machines, Frank seemed to say. A covered car neatly arranged between two palm trees looks like a coffin, and then you turn the page and there is a grainy photo of a dead body covered by a blanket lying beside a highway, and the corpse and the car look the same. [. . .] America was a different place than what the television and magazines were telling us.