walker evans sp

“You talk about simplicity. When I first made photographs, they were too plain to be considered art and I wasn’t considered an artist. I didn’t get any attention at all. The people who looked at my work thought, well, that’s just a snapshot of the backyard. Privately I knew otherwise and through stubbornness stayed with it.”

– Walker Evans, 1903-1975, American, photographer (self-portrait)


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In case casual readers thought they could flit randomly among the images in Walker Evans’s “American Photographs,” Lincoln Kirstein provided a cautionary note in all caps:

THE REPRODUCTIONS PRESENTED IN THIS BOOK ARE INTENDED TO BE LOOKED AT IN THEIR GIVEN SEQUENCE

That might seem like unnecessary advice these days. But when the book was published in 1938 to accompany Mr. Evans’s groundbreaking solo show at the Museum of Modern Art, it was a resounding declaration. While his was by no means the first photography book published, it broke from convention to create a new type of collection, in which how the pictures were laid out, as much so as the order of words in a sentence, gave the work its meaning.

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Walker Evans, courtesy of the Museum of Modern Art “Sidewalk in Vicksburg, Miss.” 1936.

“Evans was suggesting that he could create a sequence of pictures that could become in and of itself a work of art …  continued on NY times Lens Blog:  http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/08/08/a-new-look-at-walk-evanss-american-photographs/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0