“THE FIRST TO USE THE SUBWAY AS A LENS ON SOCIETY”
EVANS, Walker. Many Are Called. With an Introduction by James Agee. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1966. Square octavo, original black cloth, original dust jacket. $1100.
First edition, with 89 compelling black-and-white photographic plates by Walker Evans and introductory essay by James Agee.
"Most scholars agree that Walker Evans… was the first to use the subway as a lens on society. From 1938 to 1941, he took some 600 photographs of passengers, although the work was unknown to the public until 1966… 'He had the camera around his neck, resting on his chest, and a long cable going down his sleeve to his hand,' said Helen Levitt… who accompanied Evans as he took many of the subway portraits. 'So he just pointed his chest at whomever he wanted to shoot. He didn't have to hold the camera up to his eye" (New York Times). In Many Are Called, Evans "investigated the very process of photographing, by making spontaneous, improvised images for which he relinquished as much control as he could to the camera itself" (Parr & Badger, 253). "This tactic was part of Evans' search for the real, the truth behind appearances" (Roth, 180). In the eloquent preface, written in 1940, James Agee writes of his close friend's work, "Each [rider] wears the garments which of themselves are exquisitely subtle uniforms and badges of their being." In addition to including Agee's essay here, Evans dedicated the book to the writer, who died in 1955. With errata slip tipped in. Open Book, 218. Owner inscription.
Book fine; some edge-wear with closed tear to rear panel, slight rubbing to near-fine dust jacket.