"A portrait is a picture in which there is just a tiny little something not quite right about the mouth." -- John Singer Sargent

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Walker Evans

This c. 1934 photographic self-portrait of Walker Evans belongs to the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC.
Walker Evans recorded the Great Depression's impact on rural America with his camera. As a photographer charged by the New Deal's Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document conditions in the country's agricultural regions, he carried only the most basic equipment. But that equipment proved more than ample. 
The FSA pictures taken by Evans from 1935 to 1937 recorded with often-jolting clarity the toll of the Depression on the rural South. This forthright self-portrait was made around this time and captures Evans's commitment to clarity of vision and his engagement with documentary photography. Having shown his work with Ralph Steiner, Margaret Bourke-White, and George Platt Lynes, and bolstered by friendships with Lincoln Kirsten and Ben Shahn, Evans was at a turning point in his career. -- NPG

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