New York Photobooks

About photobooks – old and new.

Walker Evans – Many Are Called

 

Title: Many Are Called

Author: Walker Evans

Introduction from James Agee

Published in 1966, by Houghton Mifflin Company, The Riverside Press Cambridge, Boston

4to: black and white photographs, black cloth, printed dust jacket.

178 pages

 

 

Although “Many Are Called” was published only in 1966, the photographs were shot from 1938 to early 1940s, on one single subway line, the Lexington Avenue subway line. Some of these pictures had been published in The Cambridge Review in 1956 and in Harper’s Bazaar in 1962, but Evans waited a bit longer to publish the whole set, in order to preserve the privacy of the subjects. All photos were shot secretly, as Evans hided the camera in his coat, barely letting the lens sticking out. Evan’s decision in keeping those who were photographed unaware of it, was motivated by the desire of catching authentic expressions while the “guard is down”.

As nicely described by James Agee, the several millions of anonymous subway passengers is not a homogeneous mass composed of similar human beings. It is rather the opposite, each one of these human beings has distinctive racial and social backgrounds, but also unique existences and experiences that have shaped their inner selves more deeply concealed. Intrigued by these idiosyncrasies, Evans captures in these pictures, moments of suspension and introspection, during which the subway passengers inadvertently reveal profound aspects of their inner world.

The title comes from the book of Matthew “many are called, but few are chosen”, suggested by Alice Morris, who had already collaborated in Evans’ previous book “Let Us Now Praise Famous Men”. In Many Are Called, Evans also used an introductory text written by James Agee in 1941 for this specific set of photographs. In the meantime Agee died and Evans decided to dedicate this book to him.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on February 19, 2016 by in New York photobooks.
February 2016
M T W T F S S
« Jan   Mar »
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
29  

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 6 other followers

%d bloggers like this: