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Walker Evans from Les Rencontres d'Arles on Vimeo.
10 August 2015

Walker Evans – Anonymous

Musée Départemental Arles Antique


Walker Evans (1903‐1975) remains one of the most important and influential photographers in the history of the medium. His career spanned the emergence of the modern mass media in the 1920s to the full acceptance of photography as an art form in the 1960s and 70s. Many of Evans’s individual images have become landmarks in both the history of photography and the social history of that era. Without Evans the development of photography would have been very different, particularly in North America.

This innovative exhibition takes a different look at Evans, placing the emphasis on his printed pages, and in particular his work for American magazines. Evans began to publish in 1929 and soon found ways to set his own assignments, write the accompanying words and design his layouts. He worked in black and white and colour. Over nearly four decades evans used the popular magazine page to produce a resistant counter‐commentary on American society and its values. Where the mass media enjoyed celebrity culture, Evans photographed anonymous citizens. Where the mass media promoted consumerism, Evans valued enduring objects and the persistence of the past in the present. Experimental and yet classical, evans’s photo‐essays have been overlooked until recently.

Walker Evans, Anonymous presents original magazine pages alongside vintage prints and related material, looking at Evans as a pioneer of modern photography, editing, writing and design. The exhibition includes Evans’s many attempts to shoot unnamed citizens on American streets and the New york subway, his images of popular graphics and vernacular architecture, and his celebrations of everyday life.




Exhibition curators: David Campany, Jean-Paul Deridder and Sam Stourdzé.

Exhibition coproduced by the A Stichting Foundation, Bruxelles, and the Rencontres d’Arles.

Publication: David Campany, Walker Evans, The Magazine Work, Steidl, 2014.

Exhibition venue: Musée départemental de l’Arles antique.