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Subway Portrait

Photography

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Subway Portrait

Artwork Details

Artist/Maker

Walker Evans
American, 1903–1975

Date

1938

Medium

Gelatin silver print

Accession #

75.46

Dimensions

4 1/4 x 7 inches

Location

Currently Not on View

Description

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.”

Credit

Purchase with funds from the Atlanta Foundation

Image Copyright

© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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