Publishers Weekly - Publisher's WeeklyEvans (1903-1973), an immortal of the art-photography establishment he eschewed, had a distinct antipathy toward certain eminent colleagues--Stieglitz, Steichen, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams--in whose work he found undesirable dramatization. His own materials were everyday life and vernacular art and architecture in which he discerned aesthetic possibilities ``when intelligent observation backed up by a culture was applied to them,'' notes French art historian Mora. A fine line positions Evans's fame, for, as seen in this retrospective volume, his ``hungry eye'' and visual judgment, combined with an aversion to artistic grandiosity, produced images that were innovative and arresting in the 1930s but might seem undistinguished today to the untutored eye. Included among the 300 photographs reproduced here are the 100-picture 1938 exhibition at Manhattan's Museum of Modern Art, ``American Photographs,'' and selections from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men , a book collaboration by Evans and James Agee. Design on these pages , however, frequently overshadows art, with white space overwhelming the illustrations. A literal reproduction of the MOMA exhibition's original geometry and picture sequence so reduces many of the scenes that the reader can barely view them. (Dec.)
Library Journal - Library JournalEvans (1903-75) began photographing in 1927, joined Time in 1945, later became editor at Fortune , and ended his career as a professor of graphic design at Yale. The body of work he produced in half a century distinguishes him as one of the most important and influential 20th-century American photographers. This is not the first book to present Evans's work retrospectively, but this is certainly the most comprehensive. Mora ( Walker Evans: Havana 1933 , Pantheon, 1989) and Hill (Evans's friend and executor of his estate) provide concise and readable biographical and interpretive essays accompanied by exquisite reproductions. The photo groups are arranged chronologically, with essays introducing each project or period in Evans's life. Topics range from the Brooklyn Bridge to his work for the Farm Security Administration--including his famous photographs for James Agee's Let Us Now Praise Famous Men --to the Museum of Modern Art exhibition ``American Photographs,'' reproduced in exact sequence and relative size. Highly recommended for photography and photographic history collections.-- Kathleen Collins, New York Transit Museum Archives, Brooklyn
- Abrams, Harry N., Inc.
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