b. 1903 St Louis, d. 1975 New Haven
Walker Evans was an American photographer and writer credited with introducing clarity and precision into inter-war documentary photography. After a peripatetic education, he moved to New York to pursue a writing career but turned to photography in 1930. In 1933 he photographed conditions of poverty under the Cuban dictator Machado y Morales, setting a precedent for his pictures of hardship during the Depression in the American south, a project instigated by the Farm Security Administration. In 1935-36 he created a series of images of plantation houses in Mississippi and Louisiana, complemented by photographs of US Civil War monuments. In the late 1930s Evans famously used a hidden camera to photograph commuters on the New York subway. In 1938 the Museum of Modern Art staged a survey of Evans’ tirelessly inventive first decade as a photographer, the museum’s first exhibition dedicated to a single photographer. In the 1940s and 1950s he worked as photographer and picture editor for Time and Fortune magazines, and later taught at Yale. In 1973, still experimenting with new camera technology, he visited Sussex where he photographed Brighton landmarks with a candour typical of his long career.