Walker Evans
[Photographer, b. 1903, St. Louis, Missouri, d. 1975, New Haven, Connecticut.]

 ...nature photographs downright bore me for some reason or other. I think: “Oh, yes. Look at that sand dune. What of it?” 
 [Photography] is not cute cats, nor nudes, motherhood, or arrangements of manufactured products. Under no circumstances is it anything ever anywhere near a beach. 
 I work rather blindly. 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 response to what’s before your eyes. 
 I do note that photography, a despised medium to work in, is full of empty phonies and worthless commercial people. That presents quite a challenge to the man who can take delight in being in a very difficult, disdained medium. 
 With the camera, it’s all or nothing. You either get what you’re after at once, or what you do has to be worthless. 
 A garbage can, occasionally, to me at least, can be beautiful. That’s because you’re seeing. Some people are able to see that—see it and feel it. I lean toward the enchantment, the visual power, of the esthetically rejected subject. 
 When you say “documentary,” you have to have a sophisticated ear to receive that word. It should be documentary style, because documentary is police photography of a scene and a murder ... that’s a real document. You see, art is really useless, and a document has use. And therefore, art is never a document, but it can adopt that style. I do it. I’m called a documentary photographer. But that presupposes a quite subtle knowledge of this distinction. 
 It’s too presumptuous and naïve to think you can change society by a photograph or anything else... I equate that with propaganda; I think that’s a lower rank of purpose. 
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