Revealed: Robert Frank’s Elevator Girl

Travel Blog  •  Michael Yessis  •  08.31.09 | 11:09 AM ET

The previously unknown woman in Robert Frank’s photo “Elevator—Miami Beach,” the woman Jack Kerouac singled out in his introduction to Frank’s book, “The Americans,” has revealed herself. She’s Sharon Collins. At the time of the photo she was working the elevator at the Sherry Frontenac Hotel. 

Kerouac described Collins as “That little ole lonely elevator girl looking up sighing in an elevator full of blurred demons.” In an interview with NPR this weekend, Collins said Kerouac’s description of her was “pretty close.”

He saw in me something that most people didn’t see. I have a big smile and a big laugh, and I’m usually pretty funny. So people see one thing in me. And I suspect Robert Frank and Jack Kerouac saw something that was deeper. That only people who were really close to me can see. It’s not necessarily loneliness, it’s ... dreaminess.

Here’s the iconic photo.

1 Comment for Revealed: Robert Frank’s Elevator Girl

Julia Ross 08.31.09 | 12:52 PM ET

Saw “The Americans” when it came through the National Gallery here in Washington, and that photo really stuck with me. Thanks for the link.

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