Walker Evans, born on 3 November 1903 in St. Louis, Missouri was a child of the well-off advertising executive. Evans is famously known for his photographic skills especially for the Resettlement Administration (RA), documenting the impacts of the Great Depression. In that study, he incorporated large-format, 8×10-inch camera, aiming to make pictures “authoritative, literate, transcendent”. His work is much admired and showcased in many museums.
This American Photographer received his education from Phillips Academy and Williams College and later relocated to Paris, wishing to launch his career as a writer. He liked French as a language and spent a large amount of his time in libraries. In 1926, he left Paris headed New York to join its literary and art crowd and remained a clerk at a stockbroker on Wall Street till 1929.
In 1928, Walker Evans started off with photography and in year 1930, he printed his three photographs in the book of poetry, The Bridge by Hart Crane. He carried on with his work by clicking a number of Victorian mansions in Boston locality, backed by Lincoln Kirstein. Later he went to Cuba on an assignment for an upcoming, The Crime of Cuba, snapping the revolt against Gerardo Machado.
In 1935, Evan started working with Resettlement Administration, majorly in Dixie. He received an assignment in collaboration to James Agee, both of them were sent by Fortune magazine to Hale County, Alabama, for a cover story although the magazine never published it. One of his works with ‘Agees’ text, in 1941, Evans’s photographs that detailed the duo’s stay with three tenant families during depression got published as the revolutionary book i.e. ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’.
He continued working for the same firm till 1938 and in the same year his exhibition was held at The Museum of Modern Art(MOMA), New York. The specialty owing to this exhibition was its first ever solo exhibition, acclaiming Walker Evans. The catalogue encompassed an essay by Evan’s friend Lincoln Kirstein. Evans captured a few photographs in the New York Subway, for the book titled ‘Many are Called’, in 1938. In the same and proceeding year, he worked with Helen Levitt. Evans was not into the printing thing and scarcely entered the dark room, otherwise attached instructions to negatives for any kind of specifications.
With exceptional skills at photography he started teaching at the Yale University School of Art. Besides this his keen interest in reading and writing earned him the title of a staff writer at Time magazine, in 1945. Taking his creativity ahead, ha also converted to editor at Fortune magazine through 1965.
In the same year, he completed a black and white portfolio of Brown Brothers Harriman’s offices and partners which was published in “Partners in Banking,” in 1968. He shot a long series with the then-new Polaroid SX-70 camera, in 1973 and 1974, after which his old age and fragile health made it impossible to work anymore.
Life could spare Evans only till 1975 as death embraced him in his house at Lyme, Connecticut. However, the world still recognizes his efforts and that is why in 2000, Evans was inducted to the St. Louis Walk of Fame.