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Travel Notes - Walker Evans


Rental Format(s): Digital File

Travel Notes, Schooner-Islands-Islanders
Maker: Walker Evans
Original format: 35mm silent film 1.33:1
New music: Eric Beheim
Courtesy: Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art

During 1931-32, Walker Evans set sail for Tahiti. He was to document the voyage for his sponsors thus providing Evans with an opportunity to shoot 35mm movies. He experimented with lenses and filters to make a film that matches in many ways his photographs of the same subjects. -Bruce Posner

Movies are more difficult than I realized... I was really surprised the stuff came out into well taken pictures, have learned from this little experience that results can be gotten anyway, by my own hand. -Walker Evans, 1932

He assembled a rough cut of the first ten minutes or so, which he titled Travel Notes: Ship-Islands-Islanders. In the first of its three sections Evans examines the ship from an assortment of bird's-eye and angle views, intercut with formal studies of rope patterns and scenes of the crew running the ship. He follows with a more fluid section of mountainous landscapes seen from the moving boat, then studies of local flora. Finally, Evans records the natives in a dance, making of the swaying figures a compressed, undulating tableau of bodies. -Douglas Eklund

Walker Evans (1903-1975) is well known for his images documenting the effects of the Great Depression for the Resettlement Administration, Farm Security Administration, and Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, his 1941 collaboration with the writer James Agee. He also photographed many shop fronts, billboards, and the seemingly inconsequential details of urban and rural life. -Luc Sante

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