“Color is vulgar, beauty is unimportant, and nature is trivial.”*

Today  is the birthday of American photographer Walker Evans (1903-1975). Evans was born in St. Louis and attended Williams College for a year before dropping out and heading to Paris to be a writer.

He took up photography in 1928 after returning to the U.S. In the summer of 1936 he and writer James Agee were sent by Fortune magazine on assignment to Hale County, Alabama for a story the magazine subsequently opted not to run. (I wonder why?)

Walker Evans, [Floyd and Lucille Burroughs, Hale County Alabama], 1936. Gelatin silver print. Mandatory Credit: ©Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art /Published: The New York Times on the Web 07/18/99 Books PLEASE CONTACT Margaret M. Doyle, Senior Press Officer at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (212)-650-2128 FOR FUTURE REPRODUCTION USE.



In 1941 Evans’s photographs and Agee’s text detailing the duo’s stay with three white tenant families in southern Alabama during the Great Depression were published as the book Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. I remember reading this book in school–I can’t remember when, but it was quite a book.

Anyway, Walker Evans’ photographs surely prove the old adage: A picture is worth a thousand words.


A toast to Walker Evans tonight! And another toast to another birthday boy, Charles Bronson (1921-2003)–actor and all-around cool dude.


On the set of “The Magnificent Seven” with Steve McQueen, 1960

*Walker Evans…The boy said something very similar as a small child once. I asked him why he never used color in his very detailed pencil drawings. He replied, “Color is evil,” which stopped me in my tracks.