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Photography - Walker Evans

Walker Evans is one of the most influential photographers in the history of the artform. He developed what he sometimes did and sometimes did not term the ‘documentary’ style, but which might be more accurately described as the ‘objective’ style, attempting to reduce his personal impact on a photograph to a minimum. He honed this style while working on a long project for the US government’s Farm Security Administration, snapping farm-workers in the southern States. The object of the project was to depict them as heroic figures: Evans shot them as they were, and eventually got sacked, but not before honing his style.

He became famous in 1941, when, together with the writer James Agee, he chronicled the lives of three sharecropper families in Alabama in the book Let us now Praise Famous Men. His portraits of the sharecroppers are bleak and realistic, but the characters maintain a quiet, almost magisterial beauty. Evans eventually became the editor of Fortune Magazine and his influence as a photographer waned. But he never stopped shooting, and in 1973, two years before his death, he documented a trip to Sussex. For the rest of the year prints of these photographs, which were intended to become the photo-book ‘A Smattering of English’ will be on display at the Gardners Arts Centre. They show that Evans never lost his touch, he never lost his vision, and he never lost his ability to shoot a spade like a spade. AL

Back to the Pavilion - Walker Evans photographed Sussex again
and again late in his life

Gardner Arts Centre
When? 10am-6pm Mon-Sat, and during performances
How Much? Free