Walker Evans: Florida (Oxford University Press, 2000)

Walker Evans (November 3, 1903 – April 10, 1975) is one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century. His elegant, crystal-clear photographs and articulate publications have inspired several generations of artists, from Helen Levitt and Robert Frank to Diane Arbus, Lee Friedlander, and Bernd and Hilla Becher.

He is best known for his portraits of Depression-era America, a number of which were included in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), his famous collaboration with writer James Agee.

In September 1938, the Museum of Modern Art opened American Photographs, a retrospective of Evans’ first decade of photography. The museum simultaneously published American Photographs—still for many artists the benchmark against which all photographic monographs are judged. The book begins with a portrait of American society through its individuals—cotton farmers, Appalachian miners, war veterans—and social institutions—fast food, barber shops, car culture. It closes with a survey of factory towns, hand-painted signs, country churches, and simple houses.

Between 1934 and 1965, Evans contributed more than 400 photographs to 45 articles published in Fortune magazine. (⇒ The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

Video: Walker Evans in His Own Words on YouTube, (4:37), by J. Paul Getty Museum

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The Florida Song – Ricky Sylvia and The Buzzcatz (2017)

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Featured in Walker Evans: Florida are the surprising images Evans took during that six-week stay in the area, which constitute a little-known chapter in Evans’s distinguished career. Far from stereotypical postcard pictures of sandy beaches and palm trees, Evans captured a region of contradictions. Here in the nation’s seaside vacationland, Evans focused his lens on decaying architecture, crowded street scenes, retirees, and numerous images of animals, railroad cars, and circus wagons from Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus, whose winter home was Sarasota.

Accompanying the fifty-two images in Walker Evans: Florida is novelist Robert Plunket’s wry account of the human and geographic landscape of Florida.

Publisher’s Info

Walker Evans, Untitled, Self-Portrait, 1928, New York ©Walker Evans Archive
Publisher: Oxford University Press