Walker Evans (1903 – 1975) is best known for his portraits of sharecropping families in the southern US during the great depression. Evans was a creative individual,as we can see from this self portrait made in 1927…
IN the late 1930s Evans worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) making images intended to justify Roosevelt’s New Deal policies. Since he was working as an employee of the government, all this work is in the public domain, which has lead to some interesting issues. Some people have produced improved versions of Evan’s masterpieces using digital technology to bring out details more clearly. Sherrie Levine re-photogrpahed many of Evans’ iconic images (since the originals are in the public domain, Levine was able to claim ownership over her re-photographs).
Evans’ FSA work was controversial at the time in that it was basically propaganda for the Roosevelt governments policies, and some of the subjects did not agree with the way Evans depicted them.
Also during the 1930s Evans made a series of ‘Subway Portraits’ using a hidden camera on the New York subways.
In someways these are startling works – frank and intimate, very unguarded images. By they also represent a significant invasion of privacy. Evans did not publish them until the 1960s.
Evans’ work often revealed a fascination with signs….
But I think, perhaps most remarkable are the polaroid images he made in the last two years of his life…