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Friday, May 21, 2010

1940s Santa Monica Beach by Walker Evans

I received these images as a group of gift cards (which I love to send to my customers). Each time I pulled them out I'm captured by their beauty, how time itself stands still and I can view into the lives of each of the subjects. Not posed, just life in all of it's details. Candid and approachable in the sense that I can bring my own questions to their lives and hope that I can find some of the answers within the framework of the photograph.

Walker Evans, American Social Realist Photographer, 1903-1975

Boardwalk, Santa Monica, California 1947

"Leaving aside the mysteries and the inequities of human talent, brains, taste, and reputations, the matter of art in photography may come down to this: it is the capture and projection of the delights of seeing; it is the defining of observation full and felt."

-- Walker Evans

Boardwalk, Santa Monica, California 1947

Reacting against the Pictorialist tradition of Stieglitz, Steichen, and others of the preceding generation of photographers, Evans banished all artiness and artifice from his practice and let the subject—be it a West Virginia coal miner, a roadside vegetable stand in Alabama, or a torn movie poster on Cape Cod—reveal itself directly to the viewer with exquisite candor. He recorded everyday life in many forms—popular culture, the iconography of commerce and consumerism, the automobile and its impact on the landscape, new poverty, old wealth, and everything in between.

Beach, Santa Monica, California 1947

Walker Evans began to photograph in the late 1920s, making snapshots during a European trip. Upon his return to New York, he published his first images in 1930. During the Great Depression, Evans began to photograph for the Resettlement Administration, later known as the Farm Security Administration (FSA), documenting workers and architecture in the Southeastern states. In 1936 he traveled with the writer James Agee to illustrate an article on tenant farm families for Fortune magazine; the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men came out of this collaboration.

Boardwalk, Santa Monica, Ca. 1947

Throughout his career Evans contributed photographs to numerous publications, including three devoted solely to his work. In 1965 he left Fortune, where he had been a staff photographer for twenty years, to become a professor of photography and graphic design at Yale University. He remained in the position until 1974, a year before his death.



Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to write comments on your page so poor, I speak bad English...but I like very much this post!

Louise said...


Glamoursurf said...

Thank you both! I find the photogrpahs so submersive to look at.

Nora, your English is just fine, welcome to Glamoursplash!

Lesley Ann said...

I have a set of Walker Evans cards I purchased some time ago. They are from his work with the WPA. I hate to send them to people because I love them so much!

Glamoursurf said...

He's a fab photographer, isn't he?