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Walker Evans

United States Born in: 1903 Famous artist

Walker Evans was an American photographer born in Missouri on 3 November 1903. 

As a child, he already showed an interest in art; painting, collecting postcards and practicing photography with his family and friends as his subjects. After dropping out of college, he worked in New York's Public Library, then spent a year in Paris with the aim of becoming a writer, before returning to the Big Apple to work for a stockbroker until 1929. It was during his time as a clerk that he began practicing photography, and his work was greatly influenced by his love of literature; of lyricism, a narrative and irony. Later in his life he would move back to literature again, as he wrote accompanying essays to his articles and photographic projects.

One of his earliest assignments in 1933 covered the Cuban dictator Gerardo Machado, and while documenting the experiences of citizens there he met Ernest Hemingway. During the Depression era in 1935, Evans started working for the Resettlement Administration and the Farm Security Administration as a photographer for government-built communities, documenting pictures which greatly contributed to the visual history of the Great Depression. His work on Let Us Now Praise Famous Men is considered by many to be the most iconic photos in Evans' career, as well as the Depression era itself. With three rural tenant farming families as his subjects, he provided a moving, honest and intimate insight into those living in poverty during the Great Depression for Fortune magazine.

In 1938 Walker Evans: American Photographs was the first ever exhibition dedicated to one photographer at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The artist then went on to capture his Subway Portraits series of photographs on the New York Subway from a camera strapped to his chest under his coat, unbeknownst to his subjects.

Evans is considered the forerunner of the documentary tradition in American photography, and, with a career spanning forty years, he provided a visual catalogue of US history from the 1920s to the 70s. His black and white photographies dwell on ordinary subjects, with a striking realism and spectator's perspective. In his early photographs he used a large-format 8×10-inch view camera, while he later used a Polaroid SX-70, which was easier for the 70-year old artist to handle. He continued to work up until his death in 1975.

Much of Evans' work can be found in permanent collections of museums such as the Met, MoMA, the J. Paul Getty Museum. The artist has also been the subject of major retrospectives at MoMA and the Centre Pompidou in Paris.

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Walker Evans, Two Women on the Subway, New York City, Photography

Walker Evans

Two Women on the Subway, New York City, 1938
11.25 x 11 inch
Photography

$ 5,000

Walker Evans, Pabst Blue Ribbon Sign, Chicago, Photography

Walker Evans

Pabst Blue Ribbon Sign, Chicago, 1946
11.75 x 10.44 inch
Photography

$ 5,000

Walker Evans, Burroughs Family, Alabama, Photography

Walker Evans

Burroughs Family, Alabama, 1936
11 x 11.25 inch
Photography

$ 5,000

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