Walker Evans: Crossroads General Store and Post Office, Sprott Alabama 16''x20''
SKU ID #292622
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Evans came to the Farm Resettlement Administration (FRA) after doing some part-time work at the Department of the Interior. His ideas about the systematic documentation of American culture impressed and influenced Roy Stryker, head of the Photographic Unit at FRA. In notes written in 1934 and 1935 concerning the creation of photographs by the federal government, Evans called for images that would be a "pure record not propaganda," and he composed a list of subjects that resembled Stryker's later shooting scripts. During the eighteen months or so that he worked at the agency, he photographed in West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, Alabama, Arkansas, and Tennessee.
Evans and Stryker parted company during 1936 and Evans returned to New York, where he worked on his exhibit and book, American Photographs, and continued to prepare his contribution to "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men," and began to make a series of photographs in the city's subways.
Evans probably knew little about social and economic conditions of the neighborhoods he captured on film. He was inclined to argue that photographers did not need such knowledge. The act of photographing, he told Leslie Katz, is "all done instinctively, as far as I can see, not consciously." This is consistent with Evans's diffidence at the application of the label "documentary" to his photographs. "The term should be documentary style," he told Katz. "You see, a document has use, whereas art is really useless. Therefore art is never a document, although it can adopt that style."
His stated goal for his work was to be "literate, authoritative, transcendent." The resulting work offers an important study of American culture in the early and middle decades of the 20th century.