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What can I saw about this remarkable photo book that hasn't been said before? Well, regarding the photos nothing really but, as I found out, the history of this title is quite fascinating. Over the years there have been four editions. Originally published by MoMA in 1938 (the five thousand copies were letterpress printed) to coincide with an exhibition of a hundred of Evans photos. Oddly forty-seven of these don't appear in the book and thirty-three in the book didn't make it to the exhibition. Even photos that appeared in both had different cropping or were from different negatives of the same event.

The second edition, in 1962, was again published by MoMA in an edition of four thousand copies, letterpress printed from the 1938 plates. The third edition, with the photos now out of copyright, was published by the East River Press. This edition is best avoided because it was printed from pages in the 1938 book, by offset litho, rather than from the original prints.

This, the fourth edition, was again published by MoMA to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary in 1988. The eighty-seven photos here are printed as duotones from prints made from the original negatives, with one exception which was made from the printed photo in the 1938 book because the negative had been destroyed.

The original 1938 exhibition photos have long been forgotten, (though if you are interested they are shown in Walker Evans: The Hungry Eye) so it is this book that carries on his legacy. Unfortunately prices vary enormously for the different editions but you can see what pages in the original book looked like by checking out Walker Evans: American Photographs (Books on Books), this is a copy, page by page, of the original 1938 book .

***SEE SOME INSIDE PAGES by clicking 'customer images' under the cover.
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22 comments| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 September 2013
Iconic. One day USA was not rich. Here are the pictures. Or only rich in patches - certain places. There was obviously a quantum leap in productive capacity during WW2 and the Korean War which must have created 'affluence'. But these pictures show the reality before that, when advertising was largely limited to a Coca-Cola sign. Wonderful photography. For baby boomers like myself, we can remember our societies without 'affluence', and thus connect with these photos. These picture show 'Life', as it was considered to be - an inevitable grind and struggle.
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on 18 March 2013
My concern with this book was that it might be a pastiche of the original. This is not the case and I write to reassure others. This is a good facsimile and faithful to the original where possible. My recollection of leafing through an original copy (I did not own it) was that the plates were lush but definition was limited by the economics of the print process. This book surpasses the original providing duo-tone plates of remarkable quality. A beautiful and rewarding book, don't hesitate.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 26 January 2016
This is a high quality reprint of an historic book that changed the course of modern photography – it represents what was a watershed moment for the medium as an art form.

In late 1938 New York’s Museum of Modern Art went out on a limb by mounting a solo exhibition of recent work (1928-1936) by the young American photographer Walker Evans. This was a first for a US museum, indeed, the show presented the photographs as works-of-art (another first), and published a handsome, fully illustrated catalogue to accompany that show (another first) which became the immediate template for major photography monographs in succeeding decades (each photo is printed large on a single right side page, with the facing page left blank). Indeed, its format, scope and subject matter made a permanent imprint upon the practice of photography (for example, Robert Frank’s The Americans of 1958 is visibly indebted to, and conducting a creative dialogue with, Evans's American Photographs).

This 6 star book is a quality reproduction of that original museum catalogue. And it deserves a key place in any serious private or public library dealing with the history of photography. Produced to mark the 75th anniversary of that watershed book, besides reproducing the original design of the book, and its essay, there is a contextual essay at the end explaining how the museum exhibition and catalogue came to be arranged in 1938, and its longer impact upon photographic history.
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on 10 October 2012
This is a reprint on decent paper of a MOMA classic publication. It contains many of Evans' best known images and as such is a valuable addition to anyone's library of 20th. century masters. Good value too,
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on 18 May 2014
Fine account of this photographer in the selection of images but the accompanying essay is opinionated beyond cogent argument and irritating more than illuminating.
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on 28 January 2014
Very good! The quality of the book is very good and the pictures as strong as always Evans did it!
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on 24 August 2014
Again, a photographer's delight.
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on 16 January 2016
very good!
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on 11 February 2013
Prints are good quality and resolution, book is well made. bargain. Must have for aspiring documentary photographers, students and lecturers.
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