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Walker Evans

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Walker Evans
(1903 - 1975)

Walker Evans, born in 1903, was raised in Illinois. He attended private schools in Massachusetts and lived in Paris from 1926-27, where he attended classes at the Sorbonne, absorbing French literature and modernism. He returned to New York in 1927 where he oscillated between potential career choices as a writer, painter, or photographer. A 1929 meeting with Lincoln Kirstein, editor of Hound and Horn magazine, decided his fate. Kirstein became his mentor, introducing him to the purely American photography of Matthew Brady and Lewis Hine, and giving Evans his first exhibit in 1930.

In 1935 Evans began photographing the rural South for the Farm Security Administration. Though the photographs were done for documentary purposes, they exhibit a deft combination of historical truth in the representation of the economic crisis together with a keen artistic eye. While in the South, Evans collaborated with James Agee on a project dealing with the plight of tenant farmers. Out of this collaboration, came their 1941 book, "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men." During his lifetime Evans published other books and worked as a writer for "Time" magazine from 1943 to 1945, and as a writer and photographer for "Fortune" from 1945 to1965. He was a professor of Graphic Design at Yale University from 1965 to 1971. He died in 1975.


Image credit: Edwin Locke, Walker Evans, 1937, Courtesy of the Library of Congress under the Farm Security Administration, FSA.8a14702

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