Clement Greenberg, an American critic, published a review of Edward Weston’s work in a March 1946 issue of the ‘The Nation’. The review was called “The Camera’s Glass Eye” and in it, Greenberg wrote that the appropriate category for photography was literature. Greenberg understood Weston to have inappropriately gone looking for a formalist aesthetic that was more the province of a painter. In contrast, Greenberg picked out the work of Walker Evans and praised it as “modern art photography at its best”.
In 1938, Walker Evans became the first photographer ever to have his own solo exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The occasion alone was a gesture enough as the Museum most dedicated to Modern Art had recognized photography as an art form and a modern one at that. I bet Walker Evans was glad he had not forgotten his camera cable when he took all those photos that made him so famous. In the exhibition’s accompanying publication ‘American Photographs’, Evans exercised complete control over the sequencing of the images.
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