Walker Evans
Many Are Called,
introduction by James Agee,
foreword by Luc Sante,
afterword by Jeff L. Rosenheim.
Yale University Press, 208 pages, $40

It has been said that the past is a foreign country, where things were done differently. This reissue of Walker Evans’s Many Are Called, first published in 1966 and consisting of ninety duotone prints of photographs taken in the New York City subways in the late 1930s and early 1940s, is indeed a vivid reminder of how quickly even the recent past acquires a look that is markedly distant from our present experience.

From a twenty-first-century perspective, the most striking aspects of the New York subway riders in Evans’s photographs are their middle-class dress and demeanor. The majority of male and female adults in these pictures are wearing proper hats and coats. With few exceptions, the men are clean-shaven and...


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