The big story in the world of photography these days concerns the fiftieth anniversary of a landmark book called The Americans, by Robert Frank. The volume is a set of 83 of Frank's black-and-white shots of the United States in the 1950s, taken on a year-long roadtrip across the country. Most of the photos evoke strong feelings of loneliness and alienation and shallowness ... images that are powerful and insightful, but not necessarily flattering. As a result, Americans were decidedly unappreciative of the book, at least at first. The photos struck a chord with Jack Kerouac, though, who wrote an introduction for the volume and said that Frank “sucked a sad poem right out of America onto film, taking rank among the tragic poets of the world”.
Given the overriding mood of the book, it's not surprising that the four Montana images it contains were taken in Butte. Here's the best known of those: "View from Hotel Window," taken in May 1956. The shot looks eastward from the Finlen Hotel ... and of all the buildings you see here, probably no more than half a dozen still stand today.