Picks and Pans Review: Walker Evans at Work

updated 12/13/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 12/13/1982 AT 01:00 AM EST

edited by John T. Hill and Frances Lindley

He was never without a camera. When he died in 1975, he owned 21 working cameras and another dozen antiques. He always had a camera with him "on his daily outings, making hundreds of pictures of signs, bits of litter and the faces of his friends and students." This handsome book starts with silhouette self-portraits made in 1927 and includes his European travels, shots of New York City and Coney Island, Cape Cod and Provincetown, Victorian architecture, Tahiti, Cuba, the American South and Chicago. There are Polaroid photos of signs in Connecticut. This is a life story in the pictures of an imaginative, lively photographer who was more than a journalist, more than a portraitist. Among the 745 photographs are several showing how a larger image was cropped to become one of the famous images we recognize. Evans not only had an artist's eye for composition and arrangement, he was also able to see the potential art and drama in the most ordinary objects and to open the viewer's eyes to the remarkable beauty that lies in the clutter of most American lives. (Harper & Row, $18.95)

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