Walker Evans

Walker Evans was a photographer known for his candid images of everyday American life. Alongside Dorothea Lange, he was one of a group of photographers employed by the Farm Security Administration in 1935 to capture the impact of the Great Depression. Celebrated for his crystal-clear realism, he is widely recognised as the progenitor of American documentary photography.

Born to an affluent family in St Louis in 1903, Evans originally wanted to be a writer. He began taking photographs while living with a bohemian literary crowd in New York in the late 1920s. His early works included images of the Brooklyn Bridge and his depictions of life in Cuba under the dictatorship of Gerardo Machado.

It was Evans’ photographs of rural American poverty, however, that first revealed his extraordinary capabilities. During his work for the FSA, he and his fellow photographers travelled through the farming regions of the Dust Bowl and the South. Evans’ haunting images of migrants and displaced tenant farmers captured the weight of the country’s history with the nuance of a poet. Some of his most famous photos include his arresting portraits of Allie Mae Burroughs, the wife of a cotton sharecropper in Alabama. These works earned Evans an exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) in New York in 1938. It was the first solo photography show ever held at the museum.

Over the course of his practice, Evans catalogued modern America in the making. He explored portraiture, self-portraiture, landscape and architectural photography. His New York subway photographs, taken between 1938 and 1941, offered candid records of people off-guard. ‘Even more than in lone bedrooms (where there are mirrors), people’s faces are in naked repose down in the subway,’ he said. Elsewhere he captured billboards, churches, civic buildings, barbershops and the beginnings of automobile culture.

Between 1943 and 1965 Evans worked as a writer and photographer for Time Inc. Until his death in 1975 he continued to push the boundaries of the medium. In the last years of his life, he began using a Polaroid sx-70 camera, producing instant prints that encapsulated his spare, direct poetry. His work had a profound influence on artists including Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander and Garry Winogrand.


WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Allie Mae Burroughs, Hale County, Alabama, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Roadside Stand near Birmingham, Alabama, 1936

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Wooden Church, South Carolina, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Alabama cotton tenant farmer family (Fields family), 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Saratoga, 1931

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

African Negro Art: Photographs by Walker Evans

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

14 Photographs

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Mule Team and Poster, Demopolis, Alabama, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

African Negro Art

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Subway Portrait, 1941

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Joe's Auto Graveyard, Route 22 north of Bethlehem, Nov. 8, 1935

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Havana Streetcar, 1933

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Barber's Shop, Southern Town, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Dock Workers, Havana, 1933

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, New York, 1941

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Photographer's Display Window, Birmingham, Alabama, c. 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

NE Corner 6th Ave & 42nd St., New York, 1929

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Window Display of Household Supply Store, East 4th Street, South Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, November 10, 1935

Walker Evans (1903–1975)

Untitled (Man asleep on stoop), Havana, Cuba, 1933

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1931

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Street Portrait, Chicago, 1946

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

14 Photographs

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Subway Portrait, January 13, 1941

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, New York, c. 1938-1941

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Citizen in Downtown Havana, 1933

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, New York, c. 1938-1941

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Abstraction - Brooklyn bridge, vers 1928-1929

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Lunchroom Buddies, New York City, 1931

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

View of Railroad Station, Edwards, Mississippi, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Penny Picture Display, Savannah, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1931

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Torn Movie Poster, 1930

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Tupelo, Mississippi, 1935

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Railroad Station, Edwards, Mississippi, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Ringling Bandwagon, Circus Winter Quarters, Sarasota, 1941

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, 1938

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Beaufort, South Carolina, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Subway Portraits, New York, 1940

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

New York, Greenwich Village Doorway, 1934

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Main Street, Saratoga Springs, New York, 1931

Walker Evans (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, 1938-1941

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Facade of House with Large Numbers, Denver, Colorado, August, 1967

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Penny Picture Display, Savannah, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Alabama Tenant Farmer (Floyd Burroughs), Hale County, Alabama, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Tenant farmer's wife, 1936

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Bathroom Wall, Dresser Top, Fisherman's House, Biloxi, Mississippi, 1945

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Subway Portrait, c. 1938-41

WALKER EVANS (1903-1975)

Roadside View, Alabama Coal Area Company Town, 1935

WALKER EVANS (1903–1975)

Bridgeport, Connecticut, 1941