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The Robert Frank Collection

Peru, 1948, 1996.147.7.6-7

Peru, 1948, 1996.147.7.6 – 1996.147.7.7

Peru, 1948

Frank made several trips during his first few years living in the United States. In 1948 he traveled to Central and South America, briefly visiting Cuba, Panama, Brazil, and Bolivia before roaming and photographing extensively in Peru. This sojourn resulted in the creation of two spiral-bound books, each containing the same 39 photographs but sequenced differently.

As in 40 Fotos, Frank experimented with the layout of his Peru books, bleeding some photographs to the top, bottom, or side of the page and even printing some pictures across the center and onto the opposite page. The variety of formats recalls Alexey Brodovitch's Day of Paris. The pictures themselves focus on traditional Peruvian life, with special attention to the ubiquitous hats that Frank saw as a defining feature of the Peruvian people. Many of the page spreads present two perspectives on a single theme—a man cutting crops, a child seated before a bowl or plates—communicating Frank's personal response to the country and its citizens. The order of the pictures offers no narrative but rather a series of intuitive impressions of the Peruvian people and landscape. This and the variation in sequencing between the two books emphasizes the personal nature of Peru.

Frank gave one of his Peru books to Alexey Brodovitch, which is now in a private collection, and the other to his mother. The latter now resides in the Robert Frank Collection.

Peru, 1948, page spreads

Peru, 1948, selected contact sheets