Three Masters from the ’30s: You missed it

We made it to Fort Worth’s marvelous Amon Carter Museum just in time. Today was the last day of the American Moderns exhibit, featuring photos from the 1930s by three masters: Berenice Abbott, Margaret Bourke-White and Walker Evans. My wife and daughter came, too, and we all enjoyed the exhibit very much.

Of the three I knew Evans the best already, having some books about him and also having read Now Let Us Praise Famous Men, his great collaborative project with writer James Agee. There’s something a bit, I dunno, hard about Evans that accounts for my never quite feeling as comfortable with him as I do with Kertesz or Cartier-Bresson. Still he was a very great photographer and it was a major treat to see real, full-size prints of his photos rather than reproductions in a book.

I have never made an effort to acquire a general acquaintance with either Abbott or Bourke-White. I knew Abbott more through her important work on Eugene Atget; I have her book on Atget. I was pleased to see so many famous photos in the exhibit by the two women, like this photo of the Flatiron Building in New York by Abbott (1938):

Berenice Abbott, The Flatiron Building, New York 1938

If you live anywhere near north Texas and love photography, you should be familiar with the Amon Carter Museum. They have had one great exhibit of photographers after another recently, including the mind-bending exhibit of Curtis’s photos of American Indians last year. The museum is free, as in completely free. They gave my wife and daughter iPods containing exhibit notes. For free.


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