40 Fotos, 1946
In 1946 Frank traveled and photographed in Milan, Paris, and Strasbourg. He also made his first book, a unique spiral-bound volume titled 40 Fotos. Incorporating original photographs in various genres, the book displays Frank’s early recognition of the power of presenting multiple photographs in a single page spread or in a bound series.
The cover, a montage of a human eye seen through an open camera lens, establishes the tone of clever interplay between formal and thematic opposites, while emphasizing similar shapes and properties. Frank goes on to juxtapose seemingly disparate pictures (e.g., close views of tree trunks with distant landscapes, radio tubes with live musicians, snow covered pine trees with lacy fabrics) and to pair closely aligned ones (a man holding a pig and a woman reaching for a hay bale, two wild animals struggling against their cages, a man climbing a rope and a skiier aloft in the air) in a sophisticated exploration of repetition, contrast, gesture, and sensation.