A Novel Idea: The Social Documentary Photographs of Walker Evans

Posted By:  Lisa McGean
Date Posted:  4/18/2012

Lunchroom Window, New YorkDeschutes Public Library is pleased to welcome Lewis and Clark professor Matthew Johnston to the Downtown Bend Public Library on Saturday, April 21st at 3:00 p.m. and to the Sisters Public Library on Sunday, April 22nd at 1:00 p.m. for two presentations on photographer Walker Evans as part of the 2012 “A Novel Idea …. Read Together” community-wide reading project. Both programs are free and open to the public.

Johnston will examine how different types of written texts played a role in making the photographs of Walker Evans effective instruments of social change. Striking on their own terms, Evans’ images were not only frequently accompanied by text (as in his collaboration with James Agee in Let Us Now Praise Famous Men), which provided a crucial means for bridging “high” and “low” culture, that was seen as integral to the success of his documentary projects.

Matthew JohnstonMatthew Johnston is an assistant professor of art history at Lewis & Clark College in Portland, Oregon, specializing in American print and popular culture in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Most recently, he has published on the art criticism and populist beliefs of Hamlin Garland in The Journal of American Culture.

This year’s Novel Idea selection, Rules of Civility, by Amor Towles, delves into the world of Katey Kontent, a young woman living in New York City, 1938. Throughout the course of that singular year in their lives, Katey and her friends discover what it means to live authentic lives in a world on the verge of change.

For more information about Novel Idea programs, please visit the library website at or call Lisa McGean at 541/312-1034. People with disabilities needing accommodations (alternative formats, seating or auxiliary aides) should contact Lisa at 541/312-1034.

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