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In the 1950s American photographer Robert Frank traveled the United States with help from a Guggenheim grant, taking a series of sublime images of people from all walks of life documenting the mediocrity of diners and cocky cowboys to funerals and soulless bus depots.

These images, which culminated in the now seminal photo book “The Americans,” first published in 1958, were to change modern photography forever. “The Americans” was the photographic equivalent of Beat writer Jack Kerouac’s legendary 1957 novel “On the Road,” a meandering journey that illuminated a side of life that had rarely been recorded. Kerouac was later to write the introduction to “The Americans,” which was essentially a photographic study of postwar America — a nation divided by race and societal inequalities.

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