Robert Frank and Todd Webb were two photographers that in 1955 were awarded grants to capture images of America pure and simple. Webb was an established artists whereas Frank was up and coming.
Webb would walk across America while Frank recorded the journey by automobile.
Robert Frank and Todd Webb: Across America, 1955 chronicles different approaches to what was essentially the same assignment. The exhibit runs at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston until January 7, 2024.
Some of the images that resulted are among the most historically accurate of that era. Despite being a generation apart they were both influenced by the then happening Beat Generation that was a solace for disenfranchised artists.
Frank has a rep as an uncompromising indie filmmakers for his short films as well as features like Candy Mountain (1987) and The Rolling Stone concert documentary Cocksucker Blues, as well as the influential real life documentary Me and My Brother from 1968.
The MFAH will present some of Frank’s film shorts throughout the exhibit. Upcoming screenings include Conversations in Vermont (1969) and Life Dances On (1980) on Friday, December 8 at 2 pm.
Frank made short docs until 2018, passing in 2019. Webb passed in 2000 in his mid-90s. Their imagery conjures life as it existed in the heartland decades ago with the occasional barren landscape seen through an existential lens.