Walker Evans

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Walker Evans
by James R. Mellow
Publisher's Description
This highly acclaimed and heavily illustrated biography traces the life of the influential American photographer, frequently pausing to critically assess his work. Many photographs of Evans himself are featured, as well as vignettes of his relationships with important art and literary characters of the twentieth century.
Amazon.com Review
Before his death in 1997, James Mellow left one last gracefully written, sensitively nuanced biography to add to a shelf containing National Book Award winner Nathaniel Hawthorne in His Times and a remarkable trilogy on seminal figures of the Lost Generation. Mellow's biography of photographer Walker Evans (1903-1977) is just as nimble in making connections between an individual life and the cultural trends it reflected and affected. Although he will always be best remembered for the austere images of Depression-era poverty that accompanied James Agee's prose in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, Evans was a nondidactic social realist. "I love to find American vernacular," he once remarked, and Mellow's subtle analysis of Evans's work shows his fastidiously uninflected photographic style being mistaken for a "documentary." In fact, the images' psychological intensity and formal sophistication make the photographs far more than simple records of a time or place. Mellow does not neglect Evans's turbulent personal life, including two divorces and a drinking problem, and is astute about the role in his success of collaborators like Agee, "more ambitious, more hard-headed, more informed about opportunities and better placed to make use of them." Each page and elegantly turned sentence proclaims Mellow's mastery of the biographical craft; he will be sorely missed. --Wendy Smith
ISBN: 046509077X
Publisher: Basic Books
Hardcover : 656 pages
Language: English
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