Cafe Lehmitz, a beer joint at the Reeperbahn, was a meeting point for many who worked in Hamburg’s red-light district: prostitutes, pimps, transvestites, workers, and petty criminals.
Anders Petersen was 18 years old when he first visited Hamburg in 1962, chanced upon Cafe Lehmitz, and established friends that made an impact on his life.In 1968 he returned to Lehmitz, found new regulars , renewed contact and began to take pictures. His photographs, which we first published in book form in 1978, have become classics of their genre.
Tom Waits used the cover picture for his album Rain dogs. Their candidness and authenticity continue to move the viewer. The solidarity evident in them
prevents voyeurism or false pity arising vis-Ã -vis a milieu generally referred to as asocial. The other world of Cafe Lehmitz, which no longer exists in this form, becomes visible as a lively community with its own self-image and dignity.
A huge thank you to all who have dropped by and especially those who have contributed in the first month of the Photo Book Club, looking at Robert Frank’s ‘The Americans’. We have compiled an archive of the posts below for future reference and will also be listed under the reading list page.
Robert Frank’s (1924-) Les Américains, was first published by Robert Delpire on 15 May 1958, the 83 black-and-white photographs had been taken by the Swiss born photographer on a road trip across America he took between 1955 and 1956, and where accompanied by a text on the social and political history of America by Alain Bosquet. Each of Frank’s photographs is placed on a right-hand page, with Bosquet’s text on the left, with the edition forming part of the Encyclopédie essentielle series, which aimed to present foreign countries to a French audience.
In 1959, the first English edition of The Americans was published by Grove Press, New York (released in January 1960), it retained the same visual sequence as the Delpire edition, but replaced Bosquet’s text with an introduction by the poet and novelist Jack Kerouac (1922-1969), whilst the right-hand opposite Frank’s photographs had captions by the photographer, which describe the location of the image.
Although widely criticised when the book was launched in the United States, this seminal work, has since 1959, been published in numerous editions and become, one could argue, the most influential photobook of all time.
Let us know your thoughts by using the hashtag #photobc in Twitter or share links and blog posts in to comment section below.
Later this week Wayne will take a look at the key editions of ‘The Americans’ as well as the history of the initial project and subsequent books.
Get the book
The current English language version of Frank’s ‘The Americans’ published by Steidl is available from the Amazon link below or from many other book stores.