In 1955 and 1956, Robert Frank crisscrossed the country, taking pictures of people and places across all segments of American life. The book he published in 1959, The Americans, is one of the most important works of photography in the twentieth century. Frank turned his lens on aspects of the United States that had hitherto been ignored, and he assembled his pictures in a novel and powerful way, exposing the storytelling ability of still images as no one had before.
The Met is currently exhibiting all 83 photos that make up Frank's book, in their original sequence, with helpful captions that make explicit the links between the images. Walking through it is like watching a movie in slow motion, as Frank's themes and forms repeat and change, becoming a dynamic portrait of America and the promises it has kept and broken.