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Gelatin silver print
9 x 13 1/2 ins (22.9 x 34.4 cm)
Swann Galleries - New York
Images & Objects: Photographs & Photobooks, April 20, 2017, #2443, Lot: 197
This vintage print, which was shot on Frank's Guggenheim-sponsored American trip in 1954, depicts girls celebrating their First Communion. Frank captures their coming-of-age as a fleeting transition between innocence and adulthood. (The girl in the center of the picture, who appears to be wearing makeup, looks older than her friends.) Frank captures the magical element of light streaming through the veils by positioning himself at the same height as his subjects.
The National Gallery of Art, which is the repository of Frank's archive, clarified his unique style, "In a sense, [we] look over the photographer's shoulder as he pursues his subjects. Sometimes, he took several shots of a scene at barely distinguishable angles, in search of the ideal arrangement. But often he responded immediately and intuitively to rapidly changing events to produce a brilliant, spontaneous photograph of a fleeting subject."