The objective of this project is to show how Walker Evans’ photographs taken in the 1930’s, portraying a realistic view of the poverty-stricken rural south, revolutionized the standards of documentary photography.
By looking at Evans’ photographs, I will examine the ideological implications, the aesthetic choices, and the technical limitations that Evans used to produce such powerful images. It is necessary, of course, to look at the context within which Evans was working–specifically that of the Farm Security Administration. Also, I will explain the concept of photography as a research method and an art form, while addressing the problem of “objective vs. subjective,” inherent in the field of photography. It is necessary, as well, to compare Evans’ work with that of other photographers from the same period, who had the same assignment as Evans. Lastly, the images Evans made for Let Us Now Praise Famous Men–which were included in the FSA file of photographs–serve as the culmination of Evans’ talents, as well the utmost realistic portrayal of the conditions that the American tenant-farmer was subject to in the post-Depression 1930s.
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I really enjoyed the book, it’s a must-read for any aspiring photo journalist.
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