Yesterday, we visited the Walker Evans and James Agee ‘Let Us Now Praise Famous Men’ exhibit at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts. It was excellent, excellent. I was especially happy to see that the curators used a quote from the book, one that I think is especially important:
It seems to me curious, not to say obscene and thoroughly terrifying, that it
could occur to an association of human beings drawn together through need and
chance and for profit into a company, an organ of journalism, to pry intimately
into the lives of an undefended and appallingly damaged group of human beings,
an ignorant and helpless rural family, for the purpose of parading the
nakedness, disadvantage and humiliation of these lives before another group of
human beings, in the name of science, of ‘honest journalism’ (whatever that
paradox may mean), of humanity, of social fearlessness, for money, and for a
reputation for crusading and for unbias which, when skillfully enough qualified,
is exchangeable at any bank for money (and in politics, for votes, job
patronage, abelincolnism, etc.); and that these people could be capable of
meditating this prospect without the slightest doubt of their qualification to
do an ‘honest’ piece of work, and with a conscience better than clear, and in
the virtual certitude of almost unanimous public approval.
Prints of even more of Walker Evans’ work can be purchased through the Library of Congress Photoduplication Service.