Walker Evans (on himself)

On April 8, 1975, two days before his death, Walker Evans spoke to a class at Harvard about the course of his life and work.

"I am self taught, and I still think that is a good way to be. You learn as you go and do. It is a little slow, but I think that's the way to work...

I have had a good number of years of more or less compulsive photography; I am devoted to it, and still get a great deal of excitement out of looking at things and getting them the way I want. However, you won't find me overly intellectual about what we are all interested in doing.

I work rather blindly, and I don't think an awful lot about what I am doing. I have a theory that seems to work with me that some of the best things you ever do sort of come through you. You don't know where you get the impetus and the response to what is before your eyes, but you are using your eyes all the time and teaching yourself unconsciously really from morning to night.

There are several tenets that go with this craft of ours. One of them is that the real gift and value in a picture is really not a thought; it is a sensation that is based on a feeling. Most people in our tradition are basically rather scared of feeling. You have to unpeel that before you can really get going and not be afraid of feeling".


from Inside the Photograph by Peter C Bunnell
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