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Subway Portrait

Walker Evans, American, 1903 - 1975

Photograph taken in New York, New York, United States, North and Central America


Gelatin silver print

Image and sheet: 4 5/16 × 7 inches (10.9 × 17.8 cm) Mount: 5 1/16 × 7 5/8 inches (12.8 × 19.3 cm)

Curatorial Department:
Prints, Drawings, and Photographs

Object Location:

Currently not on view

Accession Number:

Credit Line:
Purchased with the Alfred Stieglitz Center Revolving Fund, 1999

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Though Evans generally preferred to use a large-format view camera, for his New York City subway pictures he selected a 35mm Contax. Its small frame was critical for his project, as he photographed his subjects surreptitiously, the camera almost entirely concealed by his topcoat and operated by a cable that tucked into his sleeve. Working contrary to the longstanding tradition of posed portraiture, Evans captured his subjects unguarded and unawares: engrossed in the newspaper, lost in thought, laughing, chatting, or watching fellow passengers.

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