“Let Us Now Praise Famous Men: Walker Evans and James Agee in the American South”

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In 1936, Fortune magazine hired photographer Walker Evans and writer James Agee to do an article on the conditions among sharecropper families during the “Dustbowl.” Spending weeks living with three different sharecropping families, Agee and Evans captured more than just a standard documentary; the final photographs and paired language became poetry. Though the article was never printed, a final book was published in 1941 that was simmering with anger, beauty, and mystery. This lecture will explore the creation of this profound work of literature and its influence on artists as diverse as Arron Copeland and William Christianberry.