Photographing the Great Depression: Walker Evans


In 1935, Evans was hired as an information specialist by the Farm Security Administration (FSA), which developed aid programmes for impoverished farmers during the Great Depression. The photographs were used as evidence of the extreme poverty in rural United States. Evans travelled through the Southern United States, photographing, with precision, everything he saw.

This photograph of a post office was taken by Evans in 1936 in Sprott, Alabama. The post office served the community for over 100 years, from 1881 until 1993. During 1936, Evans created his most important and significant work with the writer, James Agee: an article for Fortune Magazine about impoverished cotton farmers in Southern America. The latter project resulted in the groundbreaking book, Let Us Now Praise Famous Men (1941), which documented the effects of the Great Depression, and had a huge impact on the United States.

In 1938, one year after Evans had finished photographing for the FSA, the Museum of Modern Art in New York honoured Evans with the first solo exhibition of any photographer.

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