Walker Evans

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Basic Books, 1999 - Biography & Autobiography - 654 pages
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Walker Evans (1903–1975) is best known as one of the leading documentary photographers of the Depression Era, and for his photographs of Alabama sharecroppers in James Agee’s Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. His FSA photographs have become icons in the American consciousness, and are perhaps the most influential body of photographic work in this century.But Evans was not the propagandist for social causes he was presumed to be; he was, instead, a fastidious observer, recording, simply, the way things were. His instinctive aversion to “artiness” contrasted him sharply from his senior Alfred Stieglitz, and his immediate contemporary, Ansel Adams. Evans’ eye took him toward the dusty particulars, the backroads of American life, its rundown mill towns, roadside stands, torn movie posters and advertisements for departed minstrel shows. He developed a peculiarly American vernacular, his particular trademark that makes an Evans photograph almost instantly recognizable.With unrestricted access to all of Evans’ diaries, letters, work logs and contact sheets, James R. Mellow has produced one of the most finely wrought portraits of a major American artist ever. Also, it is a deeply informed cultural history of the 1930s and ’40s and a lively account of friendships and influences with the likes of Lincoln Kirstein and James Agee.

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User Review  - BooksOn23rd - LibraryThing

WALKER EVANS, written by James R. Mellow, is the biography of the brilliant American photographer who captured the country in black and white stills, starting in the 1920s. Mellow’s comprehensive 654 ... Read full review

Walker Evans

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

The late National Book Award winner Mellow (1926-97) had unrestricted access to Evans's diaries, work logs, contact sheets, taped interviews, and letters. He weaves these together with information ... Read full review


School Years
The Incandescent Center
Standing Aside

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About the author (1999)

James R. Mellow was before his death in 1998 an acclaimed biographer whose other books include Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company, Invented Lives: F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, and Hemingway: A Life Without Consequences.

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