Spartacus Review

Volume 36: 26th August, 2009


Title: Photographing America 1929-1947

Author: Henri Cartier-Bresson & Walker Evans


Publisher: Thames & Hudson

Price: £27.50

Bookshop: Amazon

Spartacus Website: Walker Evans


Walker Evans and Henri Cartier-Bresson belonged to the same generation and shared an insatiable intellectual curiosity. Their works had been exhibited together in 1935 at the Julien Levy Gallery in New York and they shared a period working in America when Cartier-Bresson spent eighteen months between 1946 and 1947 preparing his show at The Museum of Modern Art. This book draws a parallel between the work about America made by Evans and Cartier-Bresson in the period from 1930 to 1947. As John Szarkowski argued, Evans defined in his work the essence of the documentary aesthetic. Cartier-Bresson, on the other hand, was making a fresh start, leaving behind his work in moving imagery and fully embracing a career as a stills photographer. But they were both approaching their work as a form of social criticism, imbued with references to literature and painting. Photograph America presents an opportunity to confront and compare the visions of both of these seminal photographic masters at once.