George Kouvaros: Robert Frank’s Intermedial Cinema
A Talk by George Kouvaros
Asked about the prominent place of words and statements in his photographs, Robert Frank attributes this development to his experience as a filmmaker. ‘It all comes from being forced to explain something,’ he told an interviewer, ‘being forced to communicate your ideas to the people you work with in films. So then when I went back to photographing with a Polaroid camera it didn’t leave me. I wanted to communicate something else—not necessarily to explain it, but to communicate something else with the photographs.’ This seminar will discuss the complex storytelling processes that define Frank’s career. It will consider how methods employed in one medium are transferred to and reinterpreted in another. It will pay particular attention to the way in which Frank wrestles with the dilemma of how to represent the experience of living in a present moment that is open to new events and encounters while also etched by the grief of the past. How can the moving image capture this fleeting, overripe, yet always surprising present?
George Kouvaros is Professor of Film Studies at the University of New South Wales, Sydney. He has written extensively on leading figures in independent cinema and North American filmmaking. His most recent book is Awakening the Eye: Robert Frank’s American Cinema (Minnesota University Press, 2015).