Subway Portrait

Object Details


Subway Portrait


Walker Evans (American, 1903 - 1975)




1938 - 1941


Gelatin silver print


14.8 x 23.5 cm (5 13/16 x 9 1/4 in.)


© Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

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For the purposes of Walker Evans's continuing quest to obtain anonymous portraits, the subway was the place "where the people of the city range themselves at all hours under the most constant conditions." In order to remain inconspicuous, Evans used a hidden camera: a small, fast Contax that he painted flat black, strapped to his chest, and operated with a long wire strung down his right sleeve. In 1966 he published the images with James Agee's introduction as the book Many Are Called.

Walker Evans: New York (July 28, 1998 to April 2, 2000)
  • The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 28 to October 11, 1998
Faces in the Crowd: The Modern Figure and Avant-Garde Realism (December 3, 2004 to July 10, 2005)
  • Whitechapel Art Gallery (London), December 3, 2004 to February 27, 2005
  • Castello di Rivoli, Museo d'Arte Contemporanea (Turin), April 4 to July 10, 2005