Image: Fireplace, Burroughs House, Hale County, Alabama
(St. Louis, Missouri, 1903 - 1975, New Haven, Connecticut)

Fireplace, Burroughs House, Hale County, Alabama , 1936

Gelatin silver print
9 3/4 in. x 7 7/8 in. (24.77 cm x 20 cm)
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. C. Blake McDowell, Jr.
1980.10
Walker Evans is best known for his photographs of the South and Appalachia, even though they comprise just a small percentage of his work.  A northerner by birth and upbringing, the South was foreign territory to him, but proved perhaps his greatest source of inspiration.  Most of these black-and-white images were taken during a one-and-a-half year period in1935 and 1936 when he was working for the Resettlement Administration, later known as the Farm Security Administration.  Many of these works, such as "Fireplace, Burroughs House"  document the poor living conditions and squalor of small southern towns and workers.  These straightforward works by Evans and the other FSA photographers proved a major influence in the development of American documentary photography.  Nonetheless, the simple, spontaneous appearance of Evans's best documentary works resulted from deliberate and carefully made aesthetic decisions; their earthy subject matter cannot hide their inherent elegance.

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