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The Story of a Photograph

Walker Evans, Ellie Mae Burroughs, and the Great Depression

by Jerry L. Thompson

Although the Great Depression brought suffering to the cities in equal measure, the images of rural poverty and despair remain the more searing memories of the worst economic collapse in American history. This is largely due to the small band of photographers who recorded the miseries of the poor, under the auspices of the New Deal’s Farm Security Administration. Notable among them were Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Walker Evans. The story that Jerry Thompson tells here is of Evans’s iconic photograph of Ellie Mae Burroughs of Hale County, Alabama. Evans made it while working with James Agee on assignment from Fortune magazine. It is not only a great picture technically but has become a memorable symbol of difficult times. How it came to be, and what consequences it provoked, make for a fascinating tale.

The Story of a Photograph details:

ISBN: 9781937853242

Words: 13,061

Pages: 29

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Tags:  Walker Evans - Great Depression