[Subway Passengers, New York City]

Artist: Walker Evans (American, St. Louis, Missouri 1903–1975 New Haven, Connecticut)

Date: 1938

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 12.2 x 15.0 cm (4 13/16 x 5 15/16 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Gift of Arnold H. Crane, 1971

Accession Number: 1971.646.18

Rights and Reproduction: © Walker Evans Archive, The Metropolitan Museum of Art


Inspired by the incisive realism of Honoré Daumier's Third-Class Carriage (29.100.129), Walker Evans sought to avoid the vanity, sentimentality, and artifice of conventional studio portraiture. The subway series, he later said, was "my idea of what a portrait ought to be: anonymous and documentary and a straightforward picture of mankind."