Walker Evans

Walker Evans



Walker Evans was born into a wealthy family in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Phillips Academy Andover, Massachusetts in 1922. After working odd jobs in New York from 1923-1926, Evans moved to Paris to study literature at the Sorbonne. However, his resentment of authority and academic conventions soon compelled him to abandon the classroom. The remainder of his time in Paris was spent in the streets and cafes of the city, where he took his first photographs.


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Although most of his work had been of places rather than people, his direct, documentary style was well-suited to the task. Evans believed it was the responsibility of the artist to record reality, no matter how harsh. In the summer of 1936 Evans took a leave of absence from the FSA. Working for Fortune magazine along with James Agee, the pair extensively documented sharecropper families in Hale County, Alabama. Though their work was rejected by Fortune it was later published as the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. The images in the book, along with the work produced for the FSA, make up the most compelling and famous collection of Evans’ work. His lager work involved photographing subway riders and people in the streets using a camera hidden inside his jacket. Without control of lighting and framing, he attempted to document the purest record of the moment. This series was later published in the book, Many Are Called. …the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt.