PRINT Summer 1971

Walker Evans: Image as Process and as Subject

ANYONE WHO COULD SEE the two shows of photographs by Walker Evans, at the Museum of Modern Art and the Robert Schoelkopf Gallery, was very lucky. Evans is in still photography what Dreyer is in motion pictures, an exemplary artist: which is to say that he realized the possibilities of the medium in which he was working so profoundly and in his production espoused them so closely that, up to a point, his work is of the essence of its medium. I suppose this would amount to saying that in him “the medium is the message,” but the “medium” involves the way in which subjects can or should be treated in and by it; and it is a fact that when people have talked about Evans they have tended to emphasize the latter. For me the interest of his work is finally in the interaction between the two, in the way in which, in terms of time and of existence, the image as both process and subject is held in an

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