Walker Evans: Message from the Interior

Belinda Rathbone, Author, Walker Evans, Editor Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (HMH) $27.5 (358p) ISBN 978-0-395-59072-0
A college dropout after his freshman year, St. Louis-born photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) moved to Paris for a year in 1926, then took a brokerage job on Wall Street, pursuing friendships with Hart Crane, James Agee, Ben Shahn, John Cheever, Lincoln Kirstein and others that nourished his art. His documentary studies of the rural South during the Depression evoke the dark side of the American dream with unsparing realism. The elusive, aloof photographer's vision of America as a junk culture of advertising, cars and dereliction may have roots in his troubled childhood, suggests Rathbone, a historian of photography, in an engrossing biography that penetrates Evans's wall of lofty reserve. Growing up in Chicago and Toledo, Evans saw through the false fronts of his father, an advertising executive, and his mother, an extravagant social climber who repeatedly spurned her son's pleas for affection. Evans's father had a love affair with their next-door neighbor and moved in with her, after which Walker turned inward and took up photography. Illustrated with 50 of Evans's photos (not seen by PW). (June)
Reviewed on: 05/29/1995
Release date: 06/01/1995
Hardcover - 263 pages - 978-1-892041-29-6
Paperback - 368 pages - 978-0-618-05672-9
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