From LENS on The New York Times:
“The cover image for the U.S. edition of “The Americans,” Robert Frank’s epochal book, spoke volumes about the state of the nation in the mid-1950s. The tightly-cropped photo shows passengers in the widows of a New Orleans trolley assuming their place in the social order of the Jim Crow South — progressing from a black woman in the rear to white children and adults up front.
The contact sheet that contained the image showed that Mr. Frank had photographed the city from multiple perspectives, but he ultimately selected the frame that most dramatically and symbolically captured New Orleans’ racial hierarchy. Learning this photo’s backstory would be impossible without the ability to view Mr. Frank’s contact sheet.
Now, such important archival material, typically reserved for scholars and curators, is just a click away. Launched by the National Gallery of Art in time for photographer’s 90th birthday in November, the Robert Frank Collection Guide is an extraordinary resource for the general public and researchers alike.”