Walker Evans: American Photographs

Walker Evans: American Photographs

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More than any other artist, Walker Evans invented the images of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact, and his work has influenced not only modern photography but also literature, film and visual arts in other mediums. The original edition of "American Photographs" was a carefully prepared letterpress production, published by The Museum of Modern Art in 1938 to accompany an exhibition of photographs by Evans that captured scenes of America in the early 1930s. As noted on the jacket of the first edition, 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." This seventy-fifth anniversary edition of "American Photographs," made with new reproductions, recreates the original 1938 edition as closely as possible to make the landmark publication available for a new generation. "American Photographs" has fallen out of print for long periods of time since it was first published, and even subsequent editions--two of which altered the design and typography of the book in small but significant ways--are often available only at libraries and rare bookstores. This version, like the fiftieth-anniversary edition produced by the Museum in 1988, captures the look and feel of the very first edition with the aid of new digital technologies. Walker Evans (1903-1975) took up photography upon his return to New York in 1927, following a year in Paris when his aspiration to become a writer withered in the shadow of Fitzgerald, Hemingway and Joyce. In 1935, Evans was commissioned by the Farm Security Administration to photograph the effects of the Great Depression in the Southeast. During this time he took many of the photographs that appeared in his collaboration with James Agee, "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men "(1941), a book which has become a defining document of that era. Evans joined the staff of "Time "magazine in 1945 and shortly thereafter became an editor at "Fortune," where he stayed for the next two decades. In 1964, he became a professor at the Yale University School of Art, where he taught until his death in 1975.

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Product details

  • Hardback | 208 pages
  • 203.2 x 226.06 x 22.86mm | 861.82g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • Anniversary
  • black & white halftones, colour illustrations
  • 087070835X
  • 9780870708350
  • 36,336

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Paintings by Cy Twombly, Agnes Martin, and Frantz Kline have been displaced from their positions in the permanent- collection galleries to make way for a roomful of Walker Evans pictures. They're hung in celebration of the seventy-fith anniversary of the museum's first one-person photography show and its even more influential catalogue. As in 1938, the exhibition includes pictures of people and places, many of them made under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration, the New Deal agency charged with documenting rural poverty. But Evans was never a strictly objective observer; for all their blunt simplicity, his photographs are sharply opinionated, as "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," his 1941 collaboration with James Agee, made quite clear. In his essay for " Amercian Photographs," Lincoln Kirstein describes Evans as both a "visual doctor, diagnoctician rather than specialist, " and " the family physician, quiet and dispassionate. " However one defines his role, the photographer made work that was once plainspoken and eloquent - images that still define something essential and true about America and Americans. Throught Jan. 26.--Vince Alletti"The New Yorker" (07/25/2013)

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