American photographs

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Museum of Modern Art, 1988 - Photography - 205 pages
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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 American.~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. --from the jacket of the 1938 edition~More than any other artist, Walker Evans invented the image of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact. His work, presented in stark and prototypical form in American Photographs, has made its impact not only on photography but also on modern literature, film, and the traditional visual arts. First published in 1938 by The Museum of Modern Art, American Photographs has often been out of print. This edition uses duotone plates made for the 1988 edition from original prints, and makes Evans' landmark book available again. The design and typography have been recreated as precisely as possible.

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Contents

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About the author (1988)

More than any other artist, Walker Evans (1903-1975) invented the image of essential America that we have long since accepted as fact. Evans did most of his best work in the 1930s, and his pictures have been celebrated as documents of the Great Depression. But his concerns ranged far beyond the troubles of the 1930s, and his work has made its impact not only on photography but also on modern literature, film and the traditional visual arts.

Lincoln Kirstein has been the Director of the New York City Ballet since 1947.

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