Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, Expanded Edition

If you’re not the type of person who would normally spend $47 on a photography book, consider making an exception for the Expanded Edition of Looking In. Robert Frank traveled 10,000 miles through 30 states, shot 767 rolls of film, made 1000 work prints, and edited down to the 83 photos in what is one of the most important photography books ever made.

The essays, histories, and correspondence in the book are all superb. If you don’t own Frank’s original book, it’s worthwhile to note that Looking In contains all 83 images from The Americans. But here’s the real kicker:

  • All 83 proof sheets for the selected images are reproduced in the Expanded Edition.

Whether you’ve meditated on the power of The Americans for decades, or have never even seen it, you couldn’t buy more learning about photography for $47 anywhere.

Photography book aficionados take note: the Expanded Edition also includes Frank’s preliminary sequencing, a look at variant crops in different editions, and additional letters by Frank, Walker Evans, and Jack Kerouac.

The Expanded Edition of Looking in has been in and out of stock at Amazon, which lists a 1-3 week turnaround time. My copy arrived in about 2 weeks with free shipping.

The Looking In exhibition celebrating the 50th anniversary of The Americans opens next month at SF MOMA, and runs from May 16  – August 23rd.

7 thoughts on “Looking In: Robert Frank’s The Americans, Expanded Edition

  1. Thanks for the heads-up on the book – it’s on my list.

    Am really looking forward to the MOMA exhibit, but I know it’s going to be a zoo for a long time based on past experiences. I hate it when you’re part of a monster herd, being pushed through like cattle. So need to think on the right time to go.

    As an aside, did you ever see Frank’s Come Again book? It was designed to look like his field notebook; with polaroids taped in, with developer oozing out the edges, etc. The Beirut pix were pretty neat; but the book design and feel is amazing.

  2. Great! I just bought the re-issue of The Americans about six months ago.

    I’m also looking forward to the SF-MOMA show this summer…

  3. Truly a great exhibit – don’t miss it. You scooped me by a couple of days, Joe. I didn’t get around to writing about the books and the show until today, the last day for the exhibit in Washington, D.C.

  4. And starting July 11 through November 29 is a Richard Avedon show, covering his work from 1946 to 2004.

    SF MOMA has been rocking with great photography exhibitions…

  5. Andy – I own the book too (a few printings ago). Nice to have both actually.

    Kent – thanks. Looking forward to it!

    Brad – Frank and Avedon exhibitions will both be cool. It’s funny how starved we are for great photography shows here on the West Coast though. New York kicks our ass.

  6. I bought myself a Frank retrospective book from a gallery show in NY for $75 in 96.’ He is certainly worth $47 in 2009.

  7. I went to a Frank show in Berkeley (or was it SF MOMA?) back in the early 90s. There were over 100 images and the show had a huge impact on me and my own photography. Looking forward to the SF MOMA show this summer too.

    Wanna avoid the crowds? Go mid-day, mid-week. Avoid the free days and weekends.

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