First published in 1938 by The Museum of Modern Art, American Photographs, an Indisputable classic, has often been out of print. This new fiftieth-anniversary edition, with duotone plates made from prints and the original design and typography re-created as precisely as possible, makes Evan's landmark available again. The following statement ...
First published in 1938 by The Museum of Modern Art, American Photographs, an Indisputable classic, has often been out of print. This new fiftieth-anniversary edition, with duotone plates made from prints and the original design and typography re-created as precisely as possible, makes Evan's landmark available again. The following statement appeared on the jacket of the 1938 edition. The use of the visual arts to show us our own moral and economic situation has today fallen almost completely into the hands of the photographer. It is for him to fix and to reveal the whole aspect of our society: to record for use in the future our disasters and our claims to divinity. Walker Evans, photographing in New England or Louisiana, watching a Cuban political funeral or a Mississippi flood, working cautiously so as to disturb nothing in the normal atmosphere of the average place, can be considered a kind of disembodied, burrowing eye, a conspirator against time and its hammers. His photographs are the records of contemporary civilization in eastern America. In the reproductions presented here two large divisions have been made. The photographs are arranged to be seen in their given sequence. In the first part, which might be labeled "People by Photography," we have an aspect of America for which it would be difficult to claim too much. The physiognomy of a nation is laid on your table. In the second part are pictures which refer to the continuous fact of an indigenous American expression, whatever its source, whatever form it has taken, whether in sculpture, paint, or architecture: that native accent we find again in Kentucky mountain and cowboy ballads and in contemporary swing-music.
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