Looking In on Robert Frank with Michael David Murphy


The Mecca, When, Oh When will it be MY TURN????
Sunday was a good day – Michael David Murphy was in town, scribbler of 2.8whileseated as well as unphotographable as well as being a fine photographer in his own right, and working full-time for Atlanta Celebrates Photography.  He seems to do it all without artificial stimulants and this must be a true testament to the power of following your bliss.



His visit was a great excuse to re-visit and re-acquaint myself with Robert Frank.  As studious readers of this blog may know, I purposefully do not spend a lot of time looking at photography, esp. on the web.  I do look at it.  And if you ask I will look, but I don’t seek it out.  Time is precious, I’ve formulated my personal vision (for the moment), and it doesn’t serve me much purpose.  Please do not misunderstand, I love photography, I love looking at it, I love going to exhibits and seeing books. I just try not to make it a daily habit.  All this being a long-winded way of saying I haven’t spent any time with Bobby Frank since the last century.  Sorry if this offends you. I last sought him out at the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid, and after spending a very unprofitable 20 minutes viewing his video-work, I had to put the fatwah on him for the wasted minutes of my life I could never get back.

Fortunately, such was not the case with this exhibit.  So it was great fun to spend the time with MDM and look at all the works from the Americans in order as they are on the book, except they are much larger, vintage prints on a wall. AND some contact sheets are there. Despite the fact that I almost had myself thrown out of the National Gallery several times for committing the cardinal sin of leaning on the plexiglass housing said contact sheets (consider yourself warned, you too may get caught mesmerized by the Frank process as I did and lean not once, twice, but thrice against said plexiglass despite REPEATED warnings from ever-vigilant NG security guards who are very polite, and should be highly compensated for their thoroughness).  It is a completely different process than viewing the book – you really absorb the sequencing differently.  My favorite room was the one devoted to transportation.  For the rubber-necker in you, the contact sheet depicting the scene of a fatal car crash in the Southwest is on display, and i must say I found it fascinating. Call me Macabre.


MD-M himself, not to be confused with one of my favorite collegiate bevies, MD 20/20 (I have changed!) His sartorial sense is impeccable, note how his palette matches the walls and the painting behind!  He’s a charmer!

It is great fun to meet new photographers – I believe we share a similar sensibility in regards to our appreciation of photography, and that is always nice to see one’s beliefs reinforced.  He’s got ideas and I love that. We also both LOVE Lars Tunbjork.

Good times Michael David!

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