Jan 12, 2007

Subway Portrait

Subway Portrait

1938–41

Walker Evans

(American, 1903-1975)

Vintage gelatin silver print

Image: 12.3 x 18.2 cm (4 13/16 x 7 3/16 in.); Matted: 35.6 x 45.7 cm (14 x 18 in.)

Gift in memory of Laura Burgess 1987.152

Location

Description

For four years, Walker Evans secretly photographed passengers on New York City subways with a camera hidden in his jacket. Since he could not look through the viewfinder and the subjects did not know they were being photographed, these images are neutral portraits without preening or prejudice, experiments in chance and intuition. “The guard is down and the mask is off. . . . People’s faces are in naked repose down in the subway,” Evans wrote. “You don’t see among them the face of a judge or a senator or a bank president. What you do see is at once sobering, startling, and obvious: these are the ladies and gentlemen of the jury.”

See also

Contact us

The information about this object, including provenance information, is based on historic information and may not be currently accurate or complete. Research on objects is an ongoing process, but the information about this object may not reflect the most current information available to CMA. If you notice a mistake or have additional information about this object, please email collectionsdata@clevelandart.org.

To request more information about this object, study images, or bibliography, contact the Ingalls Library Reference Desk.

Request a digital file from Image Services that is not available through CC0, a detail image, or any image with a color bar. If you have questions about requesting an image, please email imageservices@clevelandart.org.