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.