Walker Evans: American Photographs

Overview

The use of the visual arts to show us our own moral and economic situation has today fallen almost completely into the hands of the photographer. It is for him to fix and to reveal the whole aspect of our society: to record for use in the future our disasters and our claims to divinity. Walker Evans, photographing in New England or Louisiana, watching a Cuban political funeral or a Mississippi flood, working cautiously so as to disturb nothing in the normal atmosphere of the average place, can be considered a ...
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Overview

The use of the visual arts to show us our own moral and economic situation has today fallen almost completely into the hands of the photographer. It is for him to fix and to reveal the whole aspect of our society: to record for use in the future our disasters and our claims to divinity. Walker Evans, photographing in New England or Louisiana, watching a Cuban political funeral or a Mississippi flood, working cautiously so as to disturb nothing in the normal atmosphere of the average place, can be considered a kind of disembodied, burrowing eye, a conspirator against time and its hammers. His photographs are the records of contemporary civilization in eastern American.~In the reproductions presented here, two large divisions have been made. The photographs are arranged to be seen in their given sequence. In the first part, which might be labeled "People by Photography," we have an aspect of America for which it would be difficult to claim too much. The physiognomy of a nation is laid on your table. In the second part are pictures which refer to the continuous fact of an indigenous American expression, whatever its source, whatever form it has taken, whether in sculpture, paint, or architecture: that native accent we find again in Kentucky mountain and cowboy ballads and in contemporary swing-music. —from the jacket of the 1938 edition~More than any other artist, Walker Evans invented the image of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact. His work, presented in stark and prototypical form in American Photographs, has made its impact not only on photography but also on modern literature, film, and the traditional visual arts. Firstpublished in 1938 by The Museum of Modern Art, American Photographs has often been out of print. This edition uses duotone plates made for the 1988 edition from original prints, and makes Evans' landmark book available again. The design and typography have been recreated as precisely as possible.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The publication of this catalog, which accompanied a recent exhibition at the Stadtische Galerie in Munich, is timed to coincide with an unrelated Evans retrospective exhibition that will be presented at the National Gallery in Washington late in 1991. A somewhat redundant effort, with a selection of images that seems repetitious at times, the book covers no new ground, but its appearance indicates Evans's continuing influence on and importance in 20th-century photography. Well-reproduced photographs (arranged chronologically) are selected from Evans's 1920s photography of street life in New York City; 1930s photos of Cuba and the southern United States; Farm Security Administration photos (1935-38); sharecroppers' portraits from his 1936 collaboration with James Agee ( Let Us Now Praise Famous Men ); New York subway rider portraits (1939-41) from Many Are Called ; and Chicago street portraits (1947) made while he was a Fortune staff photographer. The absence of an up-to-date bibliography of writings about (and by) Evans makes this book less useful than it might have been. For the informed reader.-- Kathleen Collins, Great Barrington, Mass.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781935004240
  • Publisher: Errata Editions
  • Publication date: 1/31/2011
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 152
  • Sales rank: 1,462,814
  • Product dimensions: 7.30 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

"More than any other artist, Walker Evans (1903-1975) invented the image of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact. Evans did most of his best work in the 1930s, and his pictures have been celebrated as documents of the Great Depression. But his concerns ranged far beyond the troubles of the 1930s, and his work has made its impact not only on photography but also on modern literature, film and the traditional visual arts."
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