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Walker Evans

Walker Evans (b. 1903 - d. 1975), American photographer made famous by his work for the Farm Securities Administration[?] documenting the effects of the depression. His work uses the stereotypically male large-format, dispassionate viewpoint to emphasize the plight of the American public during this period of economic unrest. He also focuses on the landscapes and architecture around him. Images like Furniture Store Sign, Birmingham, Alabama (1936) shows his ability for visual irony but backs it up by making a very valid social point.

Canadian anti-capitalist author Naomi Klein, in her thesis tome 'No Logo' covers this point in today's context by stating that documentary photographers like Evans, Dorothea Lange and Margaret Bourke-White[?] where the "hard-core culture jammers" of their era, by using the visual contrast between advertising slogans, by photographing advertising posters and billboards "in their actual habitat: hanging surreally over breadlines and tenaments. The manic grinning models piled into the family sedan were clearly blind to the tattered masses and sqalid conditions below." Klein goes on to describe this group as documenting "the fragility of the capitalist system by picturing fallen businessmen holding up 'Will Work For Food' signs in the shadow of looming Coke billboards and peeling hoardings."

As well as this strong documentary aspect, Evans went on to work in an abstract modernist, using the tools of both black-and-white and colour photography to cover both socio-political issues and more conceptual artistic ideas.



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