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Allie Mae Burroughs

Walker Evans, 1936

While Evans was on leave from his job for the FSA during the summer of 1936, Fortune magazine commissioned him to collaborate with writer James Agee on a piece that focused on impoverished sharecropping families from Alabama. Fortune never published the material that ensued from this commission, but it resulted in some of Evans’s most iconic works. In 1941 their collaboration was assembled into a book entitled Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Deemed by the New York Public Library to be one of the most influential books of the last century, the book scrutinized a culture’s character and captured the cadence of its ordinary people. Refusing to dramatize poverty, this series of unlabeled photographs captured the Great Depression as stark, truthful tragedy. Evans made several photographs of Mrs. Burroughs, each slightly different from the others but all bound by a characteristically clean composition and penchant for visual clarity. (The Art Story)

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, photograph by Walker Evans