part four: Walker Evans' Images
Evans' success was that his images appear to be objective--do not forget, though,
that all photographs are subjective--they are the photographer's evaluations/interpretations of
the world before his eye .
Thus, one must be aware of the paradoxical nature of this argument: that Evans' objective, realistic, "documentary" style is his own
I think it will become clear, when looking at some photos.
The images below are 11 of Evans' photos used in the FSA
file. Evans was the least prolific of all the FSA photographers--this
is a testament to his excellence as a photographer, technically, as well
as aesthetically--for he knew what he wanted the image to look like, and did
not have to make numerous attempts at getting the image he wanted.
You will notice in these images what James
Curtis refers to as a "sobering clarity, and understated simplicity."
These characteristics create the "realistic," objective quality of Evans' work.
Evans' first attraction (before Photography) was literature,
and you will notice that his images have a literary quality to them--that is, that
the figures, the places, and the subjects seem to be representative of
the greater context within which they exist, i.e., America--not just
the specific subject itself. (His images are not solipsistic).
Evans expressed his admiration for Gustave Flaubert: "...the non-appearance
of author, the non-subjectivity. That is literally applicable to the way
I want to us the camera and do." Evans, like Flaubert, saught to abandon
any form of romantic idealism in his images. He acheives this realism, by
using subjects that are of the everyday--often street scenes, or material objects
such as a pair of shoes, or a sign on the wall--that seem to speak as
symbols of the world in which they are a part, and for the people who
live in their enviornment. Evans found a beauty in banal objects that other FSA photographers
would carelessly ignore. Part of his attraction to buildings, and patterns
is rooted in his previous architectural work,
that he did in New England in 1931.
His images show that architecture can be as representative of a people
as the people themselves.
Many of you may be more familiar with Evans' images for Let Us Now
Praise Famous Men, which were also included in the FSA file--these images are
coming up--but first, I wanted to show you some
less popular images, that serve as good examples of Evans' style
|Walker Evans' Photographs|
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