Walker Evans by Belinda Rathbone

This spring/​summer seems to be turn­ing in­to bi­og­ra­phy time so far. I’ve been pick­ing up books at Visible Voice, and the Walker Evans bi­og­ra­phy was one of them. For the most part it is an in­ter­est­ing well-writ­ten and in­for­ma­tive look at the per­son­al life and mo­ti­va­tions of my fa­vorite pho­tog­ra­ph­er. Chronologically it gets a bit bor­ing to­ward the end, main­ly be­cause Evans wasn’t do­ing much with his life but rest on his lau­rels. It suc­ceeds ad­mirably in defin­ing Evans’ ini­tial quest for di­rec­tion and the im­por­tant re­la­tion­ships that pro­vid­ed him with the nec­es­sary im­pe­tus to ac­tu­al­ly com­plete his work. Namely, James Agee. The fact that Evans is known main­ly for the 18 months of work he did for the FSA is a bit telling about his en­tire ca­reer. I’m left with the dis­tinct im­pres­sion that no mat­ter how much I ad­mire his pho­tog­ra­phy, I wouldn’t have en­joyed his com­pa­ny very much.