Frank And The Puerto Ricans

Astor Place Haircutters, NYC © 2016 Dave Ortiz


Like I mentioned in the previous post, I am in the early stages of a photo project dealing with America as seen through the eyes of a second generation Puerto Rican citizen of America. This project is influenced by the work of Robert Frank. In my prospectus I note that like many other photographers before and since, Frank ignores hispanics and brown skinned people and views blacks through a distorted white lens. I note that his only picture of Puerto Ricans was a portrait of three young men who are striking effeminate poses.  While I have nothing against the fact that these boys were gay, I do protest that Frank saw fit to portray a whole population of American citizens in this way – as “other”

America has forever been a multiethnic, multiracial society. With the stigma of interracial marriages and homosexuality being relaxed tremendously and with Latinos now making up about 20% of the population, it’s time for an updated picture of America.

Here is something interesting. Since I am taking Robert Franks’s seminal, The Americans project as a guide, I decided to superimpose a map of the population density of Puerto Ricans in the U.S. with a map outlining Robert Frank’s trips across America. 3

It is interesting to note that he did pass through areas that were heavily populated by Puerto Ricans (maybe less so back in the 1950’s) but for him they must have been invisible or at the very least he considered them not part of America.

Frank And The Puerto Ricans

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