Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Photographer's Archive

The Metropolitan Museum of Art is home to the Walker Evans Archive (acquired 1994), and has recently announced a new exhibition centered on the American photographer's vast postcard collection. Evans (1903-1975), mentioned in earlier posts, was a Resettlement Administration (Department of the Interior) photographer during the 1930s, and traveled the country recording people, places, labors, and architecture. He was also an avid collector of picture postcards, saying of them: "The very essence of American daily city and town life got itself recorded quite inadvertently on the penny picture postcards of the early 20th century.…Those honest direct little pictures have a quality today that is more than mere social history.…The picture postcard is folk document." Evans meticulously arranged the collection he amassed over the course of sixty years: self-devised subject categories included American Architecture, Automobiles, Curiosities, Factories, Lighthouses, Madness, Street Scenes, and Summer Hotels.

Walker Evans and the Picture Postcard was organized by Jeff L. Rosenheim, Curator in the Department of Photographs, and will be on display from 3 February - 25 May 2009.  To view a slideshow of some of his postcards, click here.

Walker Evans. New Orleans Classic Revival House in Rampart Street. Louisiana. December 1935. Copy Print, Miscellaneous Photographs Collection, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.


Anonymous said...

Virginia & Lee McAlester's "A Field Guide to American Houses" places the above house in Waveland, MS

as does the postcard in the link below.

Keli Rylance said...

Very interesting! Thank you for the message. Record-keeping for FSA must have gotten mixed up. [The SEAA's print is a copy from the negative at Library of Congress:]

Anonymous said...

Ive always admired the house. It got my hopes up a little that there might be a copy still standing in New Orleans.