INTERVIEW AND STORY BY MICHAEL WILLIAMS
Jesse Frohman started his career under the watchful eye of one of history’s greatest and most important photographers, Irving Penn. Not a bad start for a kid from New York, who didn’t really know what he wanted to do with himself, until he picked a camera. “When I first starting taking photos, it was really just to fill a class at college but then I just fell in love with photography,” recollects Frohman, “after that I was obsessed”.
What’s so wonderful about Frohman’s work is that the influence of Penn is so clearly there, as is to some extent that of Bill King who he also assisted, but there’s also a lightness and freedom in Frohman’s work that Penn’s work does not have. Frohman has held onto to the essential lessons of the masters Penn. The lighting. The classical composition. The thoughfulness. The perfection of the printing process as well as a certain formality to the sitting. But Frohman has also embraced his own era, both in subject selection and in approach to subject. Where Penn is studied, Frohman is loose and free.
You can tell Frohman likes his job and likes his subjects just by looking at his images. Like Frohman himself there is nothing hidden. There’s warmth and honesty in Frohman that is clearly reflected in his work. And he does it without, like so many photographers of the now, discarding those valuable lessons he learned from the master Penn.