The Histograms

Over a year ago a project came to light by Sherwin Tibayan. The project is called The Histograms. The name “The Histograms” was taken as a hybrid of what the final images of the project are and the source that they came from, Robert Frank’s seminal work, The Americans. It has been said that Robert Frank’s “The Americans” was a reading of the cultural temperature post world war two in 1950. The work was originally published in France as the project was seen as critical of America. “The Americans” showed the world how the greatest free nation at the time treated their poor, sick and racial minorities at a time just after fighting a war to save people from a nation who persecuted the disabled and those who were religiously and racially different to themselves. It can be said that the true view of what a country is like is to look at the way they treat the less fortunate in their society. It would be interesting to have a new The Americans project to view, with the information from Franks own work we can critically view if the culture in America has changed, how much and is it for better or worse.

STARS & STRIPES Sherwin Rivera Tibayan. Set of 72 5×7 inch cards, archival pigment prints, 2011 From left to right, top to bottom:

It is the measurement part of Frank’s work that the Histograms project is interested in, especially in our modern society where we are collecting data constantly; even adverts on blogs are based on data collected about you. The project takes a measurement of Frank’s measurement to create a response to Frank’s work that our data driven culture can identify with.


The Project was created by digitally scanning all 83 images of The Americans taken from the 50th anniversary of the Edition of Franks book. Each image was analysed and a histogram was created. These histograms have been used as pictures for missing posters, image maps of America and a frame for satellite images. The histograms themselves without the image become photographically useless though transcend the photograph to become images of data in their own right.

The project is now over twelve months old and apart from a link to a PetaPixel article not much has happened on their Tumblr blog.

I think this is a really great idea for a project but would rather see a whole body of original work showcased as histograms. This for me would be an interesting viewing experience using the analytical side of digital imaging to colour in the image in our mind.

Aperture64 Histogram

The above image is the histogram of this post.

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