Walker Evans's so-called "Frontality"

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by Michel Hardy-Vallée, Mar 10, 2012.

  1. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    It's a common cliché of saying that Walker Evans photographed his subjects "frontally", i.e. that his lens faced the obvious front side of it. For e.g.:

    PH1672.jpg

    However there's a problem with that with plenty of his pictures, for example, Church Interior, Alabama

    Walker-Evans-Church-Interior,-Alabama-1936-painting-artwork-print.jpg

    Frontal to what, I may ask? To the wall? That's hardly the most important item here.

    But there's one constancy I find (so far) among all his pictures: straight verticals. Absolutely none of his pictures that I know have crooked verticals. And that, I think, is a more constant stylistic choice than the so-called "frontality".

    So here's my question: Who can show me a Walker Evans picture with clearly crooked verticals? A roll of Tri-X for the winner! :wink:
     
  2. zsas

    zsas Member

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  3. Dan Daniel

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  4. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    I'm not sufficiently convinced yet... :smile: Many of these verticals are just askew, except for the self-portrait, which is rather early in Evans's career.

    If you can find one from "American Photographs" you hit the jackpot!
     
  5. zsas

    zsas Member

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  6. maarten m

    maarten m Member

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    i think that's a winner ...
     
  7. Dan Daniel

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  8. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Yeah, of course it's not a perfect vertical! I'm just looking for a seriously crooked candidate. So far the self-portrait is the best one.
     
  9. zsas

    zsas Member

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    Hummm can this do it? This has been a fun challenge....

    http://www.ecoblogs.com.br/ecoblog/poluicao-visual-pelas-lentes-de-walker-evans/

    Direct link to photo in question linked on above site:
    http://www.estadao.com.br/fotos/depressao5_walkerEvans_rep_tl.jpg


    Translated text of above site:
    This open to the public exhibition of the works of photographer Walker Evans in MASP (Museu de Arte de Sao Paulo).

    It's a nice chance to take a peek at the lifestyles of several large cities in the early twentieth century. Evans, whose style slot between documentary and artistic shows the marks of a consumer culture in society.

    Although the focus of the photographer not the environment, your photos show how the lack of any concern for sustainability and preservation can make the space we live in something harsh.

    The visual pollution is a hallmark of his work, especially those made in the U.S. in the post Great Depression, showing walls and walls full of ads, in contrast to the precarious living conditions of people.

    It is curious that the visual pollution was not confined to the streets - one of the photos shows the inside of a house with rickety furniture and a wall full of advertisements.



    The photos of Evans were brought to Brazil by the Cultural Foundation Mapfre and exposed the MASP until January 10, 2010.
     
  10. Dan Daniel

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  11. Michel Hardy-Vallée

    Michel Hardy-Vallée Membership Council Council

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    Jackpot won!