Robert Frank. Elevator - Miami Beach, 1955.
Before Robert Franks “The Americans” show opens at the Met on September 22nd and Frank fever hits New York, this uncredited story from NPR’s website shines some fresh light on one of Frank’s lesser known images from the series:
One of photographer Robert Frank's most famous images aroused a particular interest from his friend, beat writer Jack Kerouac. In his introduction to Frank's book of photos The Americans, Kerouac writes, "That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons, what's her name & address?"
Now we know.
Today, Sharon Collins lives in San Francisco. About 10 years ago she visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and found herself drawn to a particular photo — the same photo Jack Kerouac wrote about.
"I stood in front of this particular photograph for probably a full five minutes," she says. "And then it dawned on me that the girl in the picture was me."
The iconic shot shows a young girl, pressing an elevator button, looking up with an enigmatic expression. At the time, her name was Sharon Goldstein, and she lived in Miami Beach. At fifteen, she got a summer job as an elevator girl at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel. She says the hotel was always full of tourists, and many of them had cameras. Although she wishes she remembers this particular tourist, she doesn't. But she pieced together what happened by looking at Frank's contact sheet.
"Robert Frank took about four photos of me without a flash in the elevator. I didn't know he was taking them. And then when the elevator emptied he asked me to turn around and smile at the camera. So I flashed a smile, put my hands on my hips, and hammed it up for about eight or ten frames."
From the single image that was chosen for The Americans, Kerouac guessed she was lonely. But Collins thinks otherwise.
"It's not necessarily loneliness, it's ... dreaminess."
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Friday, September 11, 2009
Wednesday, September 9, 2009
It seems silly to try make any sensible pronouncements after six days in a country, four of which were spent in an exhibition hall. Saying how wonderful the people were sounds condescending, especially as at the end of the day, they’re just like us only generally more polite. So I thought I’d sum up with a selection of visual impressions, some taken on my iPhone and some on my Lumix.
And now I’m getting ready to start my 13 week beginner’s Japanese course. (Seriously.) I can’t wait to go back.
Friday, September 4, 2009
Thursday, September 3, 2009
So you walk down Roppongi Street, take the little alley (above) next to the AM/PM store, and you’ll find the Belle Salle Roppongi where Tokyo Photo 2009 is taking place.
It’s beautifully organized by our hosts Tomo Harada and Toru Fukaya, the booths are immaculately built, and the crowds and response on opening night were overwhelming.
Here’s a glimpse of my booth. The fair is organized with “Photo America” upstairs. An exhibition anchored by the Museum of Photographic Arts and three American dealers – myself, Rose Shoshana, and Paul Kopeikin. Downstairs are 14 Japanese dealers from whom you’ll see my highlights, below. There’s a predominance of contemporary sized urban, industrial, and forest landscapes – but I guess you could say it’s an accurate representation of the country. There’s certainly not the same amount of personally introspective or constructed work you would see in America.
But going in order round the fair, here are some of the pieces that caught my eye:
That's a quick Japanese floor report. More on the U.S. floor and Tokyo life tomorrow.
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
I am in Tokyo for the next week participating in the first Tokyo Photo Fair. It's also my first trip to Japan. I arrived last night.
The 13 1/2 hour flight over was surprisingly comfortable and my first taste of Japan was being faced with the above drink machine outside the airport. A difficiult choice, but as you can see I settled on the Mets grapefruit soda (delicious) before going into town on the friendly (and efficient) limousine bus.
We install the show today so stay tuned for regular updates.