"Untitled" by Walker Evans

Size of the print: 8 x 10"

Year: 1950's

Location: The South

Paper type: Silver Gelatin Print



Walker Evans (1903-1975) was born in Saint Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts and studied literature at Williams College but left the school after one year. He moved to Paris for a year, and then to New York City, where he began to work as a photographer in 1930, taking an assignment in Cuba where he documented the uprising against the dictator Gerardo Machado. This was followed by Evans taking assignments from the Farm Security Administration, which led to some of his best known and most deeply moving work. In 1936, he and writer James Agee traveled to Hale County, Alabama, to chronicle the effects of the Great Depression on farming families living in that area.

Evans's photographs and Agee's text was published in the groundbreaking book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Evans continued his work for the FSA through 1938, when an exhibition of his work was presented at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City—the first solo exhibition by a photographer at the museum. The same year, Evans began to make a series of surreptitious portraits of commuters on the subways by hiding his camera under his coat. In 1945, Evans became a staff writer at Time magazine and then an editor at Fortune magazine.

In 1965, he accepted a faculty position at Yake University as a professor of photography. He once wrote that his aim as a photographer was to make pictures that were "literate, authoritative, transcendent." In a career that spanned over five decades, Evans had produced numerous timeless and iconic images that defined American culture and society during his lifetime. In 1971, the Museum of Modern Art presented another exhibition of his work. Evans died in New Haven, Connecticut in 1975.