Walker Evans had a hard time getting out of the house before noon
Plus: Advice on establishing your creative workflow as a student
Welcome to the 11th issue of Subtle Maneuvers. Previously, for National Poetry Month, we looked at the habits of a quartet of poets: Derek Walcott, Anne Sexton, Robert Lowell, and Audre Lorde. This week, the American photographer Walker Evans.
Walker Evans (1903–1975)
For the bulk of his career, Evans’s photography took place on expeditions—most famously on his trips through the rural South in the 1930s—and required the transportation of a complex apparatus, including a large-format camera, special lenses, and a tripod. In July 1973, however, the almost-70-year-old Evans purchased a Polaroid SX-70, which fit comfortably in a jacket pocket and thus allowed him to make photography an integral part of his daily routine. By then Evans was living in Old Lyme, Connecticut, a bachelor again after two failed marriages, and in flagging health following near-fatal stomach surgery. The convenience of the SX-70—which he called “the toy”—prompted one last burst of creative energy, and he threw himself into his work with renewed vigor. Between September 1973 and November 1974, when his health took a permanent turn for the worse, Evans produced more than 2,650 photographs with the SX-70.
He said in an interview from this time: