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2019 SPE Annual Conference: The Myths of Photography and the American Dream / Major support by The Joy Family Legacy Foundation

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"Walker Evans's Racial Mirror: White Identity in Photographs of African Americans"

Friday, March 05 - 9:00AM to 9:45AM
Salon A

This presentation considers Walker Evans's 1930s photographs
of black people in the South as being indicative of Evans's
attitudes toward whiteness. Evans was clearly interested in race
even though he said little about it. Black people fascinated him,
and he photographed them frequently in his early career. But
Evans's pictures of blacks are not exclusively about African-
American experience or identity. To a large degree, Evans used
these images to speak for himself, to forward his critique of the
values of the white capitalist elite. In doing so, he invoked a set
of well-established stereotypes of African Americans.


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