Walker Evans: Photographs 1935 — 1936

19 Jun 2010 – 31 Jul 2010


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During the Great American Depression of 1935 — 36, the Missouri-born photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) embarked on a photographic project that would produce some of the most iconic images in the history of photography. This new Hayward Touring exhibition brings together around 40 black and white prints, reflecting rural working life in the southern states of America. Selected by Jeff L. Rosenheim, associate curator of photography at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, Walker Evans: Photographs 1935 — 36 comes to the University of Hertfordshire Galleries (Margaret Harvey Gallery) from Saturday 19 June until Saturday 31 July as part of a UK tour. Evans was employed as an ‘Information Specialist' in President Franklin D Roosevelt's Resettlement (later Farm Security) Administration. He was commissioned alongside other eminent photographers of the time (Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein) to record the work of the FSA's rehabilitation programme, as well as to document the daily lives of farmers and flood victims. He travelled to Alabama, Georgia, Louisiana and South Carolina photographing churches, graveyards, busy streets, shops, cafes, signs and billboards as well as making more intimate portraits of family life. He also recorded interiors and exteriors of sharecroppers' homes, group portraits and the famous close-up portraits of the Burroughs family. These disquieting, provocative images are seen by many as the culmination of Evans' photographic career, capturing the expressions of the weak and vulnerable and showing the fragility of their existence. His work bears witness to the realities faced by Depression-era communities in the Deep South. An exhibition book will be displayed alongside his photographs, featuring examples of his own writing, interview excerpts and articles written by James Agee and Lincoln Kirstein. These photographs are archival prints duplicated from the Farm Security Administration Collection in the Library of Congress, Washington.

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