PHOTOGRAPHS
     
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Figure 1. Walker Evans in Ossining near the river.
1929

Walker Evans in Ossining
Tourmente, serre par la sante perverse d’Amerique,” W. Evans c. 1926
[Tormented, constrained by the perverse well-being of America]

 

We are excited to present this selection of 41 images taken in Ossining. Please add your comments and questions by clicking the “sign guest book” button at the bottom of each image and on each page.

 

INTRODUCTION:

Walker Evans III is an icon among American photographers. His images, perhaps more than any other, brought to the American people the effects of the Great Depression on the South. His subject was the American vernacular; however, more than that, according to the art critic Hilton Kramer, “He changed the very conception of what a photograph might be”.(1) Evans is considered to have been instrumental in shaping the way we view the details of our lives. He showed that every street scene has a story in it if you look closely. His was the first one-man retrospective of a photographer at a major American museum. The 1938 show at the Museum of Modern Art, “American Photographs,” featured 100 photographs. His book of the same title was simultaneously published, with 87 photographs. Five of these were taken in Ossining, New York.

His professional career was started in 1929 with publication of "The Bridge", a poem by Hart Crane, which used Evans' photographs of the Brooklyn Bridge, some showing a dramatic perspective from below. His fame, however, came with the publication of his images in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, with text by James Agee, which was the fruit of a New Deal Farm Security Administration assignment to document the effects of the Depression on the American South. While often called a documentary photographer, he objected to the label, preferring "documentary style.” He once said, “Fine photography is literature, and it should be.” (2)

Walker Evans lived and worked in Ossining between June and October 1928, and intermittently over the next several years, when the images in this collection were taken. This is the first time most of the images found within the "photographs" link at the top of the page have been seen by the public, with the exception of the five from "American Photographs" and one other that has been published widely.(3,4) text continued: Including connections between Walker Evans, Aaron Copland and John Cheever