Evans, Walker (1903–1975) By Slipp, Naomi
Walker Evans was an American photographer best known for his work for the Farm Security Administration during the American Depression. His documentary style, historically regarded as detached, is now viewed as characteristic of Evans’s own point of view.
Born to an affluent family in St. Louis, Missouri, Evans studied literature at Williams College before moving to Paris in 1926. In 1928, Evans moved to New York City and began taking photographs, citing Eugène Atget as an influence. He was given a solo exhibition at the Julien Levy Gallery in 1932. He traveled to Havana in the following year. The photographs taken there reveal a country in the midst of a revolution, and were published in The Crime of Cuba (1933) alongside text by journalist Carleton Beals. Two years later, Evans began working for Fortune magazine, eventually contributing over four hundred images to the publication before his departure in 1965. Evans’s penetrating documentary images express an interest in the everyday lives of individuals, balancing senses of both intimacy and detachment. His photographs of the Depression are considered some of the most iconic images of that era.