Details

Title

Subway Portrait

Artist/Maker

Walker Evans (American, 1903–1975)

Date

1938

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Dimensions

Contact the museum for more information

Credit

Purchase with funds from the Atlanta Foundation

Accession #

75.46

On View

Currently not on view

From 1938 to 1941, Walker Evans descended into the New York City subways with a camera hidden under his jacket and a cable trigger up his sleeve. Without allowing his subjects to be aware of his intentions, he captured candid portraits of eighty-two people. Citing the nineteenth century painting "Third Class Carriage" by Honoré Daumier as his inspiration, Evans sought to record people in a realm that leveled society, freeing them from their class statuses and their constant state of self-awareness. In a draft that he prepared in anticipation for the publication of these images Evans wrote, “The portraits on these pages were caught by a hidden camera, in the hands of a penitent spy and an apologetic voyeur.”

Image Copyright

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art