“ I don’t like being pinned in front of a camera. I do that to people. I don’t want to have it done to me.” – Robert Frank
There is a play within a play here which tells us what is special about the new Robert Frank documentary by Laura Israel. We return continually to video footage from the mid 1980’s of Frank in talking head frame, his discomfort is both vocal and palpable. He expresses the feeling of many photographers who cannot bear the scrutiny of their own medium. He rails against the questions but it is clear that he is equally disquieted by the camera’s eye. Frank’s has a wonderfully contradictory demeanor, at once irascible and warm, fitting the image of a man and an artist of his generation. It is our good luck that he mellowed with age enough as to allow this film to be made.
Part past, part present and happily with implied future, Don’t Blink-Robert Frank is a beautiful portrait of a man who shaped the visual language of the modern world. Ms. Israel’s long standing artistic relationship with Frank and her wonderful instincts for getting at the heart of the matter allow her to tell the story of the artist in a way that is loving and intimate without being worshipful.