CLASSIC PHOTOGRAPHY LIBRARY
AMERICAN PHOTOGRAPHS by WALKER EVANS
In 1938, the Museum of Modern Art mounted its first solo photography exhibition, a display of 100 pictures by Walker Evans (1903-75) bearing the flatly declarative title “American Photographs.” In the show were images of sharecropper families in the South for which Evans is still best known. Among them was “Alabama Cotton Tenant Farmer Wife” (1936), the close-up portrait of a thin-lipped young woman against a background of weathered clapboards, a magnetic, 20th-century Madonna. People from other walks of life were represented as well: the young couple in a sleek convertible car looking quizzically back at the camera; the tall, urbane black man sporting a white suit and straw boater.