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Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard

by Walker Evans, Jeff Rosenheim


Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard focuses on a collection of 9,000 picture postcards amassed by the American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975) that are now part of Walker Evans Archive at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. The postcard came of age after 1907 when American postal deregulations allowed correspondence to be written on the address side of the card. By 1914, the craze for picture postcards had become a boon to local photographers as their black- and-white photographs of small-town main streets, local hotels, and new public buildings were transformed into millions of handsomely colored photolithographic postcards

Sold in five-and-dime stores in every small town in America, postcards satisfied the country’s need for human connection in the age of the railroad and Model T when, for the first time, many Americans regularly found themselves traveling far from home. At age twelve, Walker Evans began to collect and classify his cards. What appealed to the nascent photographer were the cards’ vernacular subjects, the simple, unvarnished, “artless” quality of the pictures, and the generic, uninflected, mostly frontal style that he later would borrow for his own work with the camera. Both the picture postcard and Evans’s photographs seem equally authorless - quiet documents that record the scene with an economy of means and with simple respect. Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard proposes that the picture postcard represented a powerful strain of indigenous American realism that directly influenced Evans’s artistic development.

UK £40.00
US $65.00
EC €45.00

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