© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan of Art.
These are some of the photographs which grabbed my attention, taken by Walker Evans and published in the book ‘Many Are Called’. You can see the individuals in each of the photographs are different from one another after close observation. Both women and the men fit into the typical stereotypes for this time period, which creates the audience to assume certain facts about the individual which could not be entirely true. The men dressed in suits - would instinctively make the public assume that they are business men just come from work. Which in fact they could have just come from a job interview? Or on the way to meet someone for a meeting? These assumptions are presumed in art work today and historical art work. Questioning the photograph can often create a whole different story and meaning behind the individual and their lives. It almost makes the audience feel a personal connection towards them involved in the picture.
Originally Evans wanted to use text with these images of conversations or information within the book, but it was not published with any text and there has been no evidence found of how he would have recorded this information. Even though these photographs are still powerful without any text, involving text may have also pushed the message upon the audience of how society has become a group of people all the same. Where as they all differ from race, age, and class, but they all become ‘meaningless’ within society.
It was not common that photographers would photograph in the subways or the streets during this time it was not a well known state of photography. Studio portraiture was the most popular style of photography at this time. Whereas Evans would describe his photography as portraiture outside the studio in a natural environment without staging or falseness.
Photographers like Bruce Gilden and Walker Evans, both show elements in their work which highlight individuals in the city and presumptions made. Making the audience aware of this creates the people in their pictures to become individuals within society. The Black and white photographs, in Evans’ work seems to create a more powerful meaning and attracts the attention of the audience into the photograph.