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Jerry Thompson and Walker Evans at The Gallery at Hermès

Pictures of People

From October 1st to November 27th 2010, The Gallery at Hermès presents a series of photographic portraits by Jerry Thompson, taken on the streets of New York in the 1970s and 1980s, together with a selection of exceptional prints by Walker Evans.

Fondation d'Entreprise Hermès - Jerry Thompson and Walker Evans at The Gallery at Hermès
© Photographs Courtesy of Jerry Thompson

Following the Wall Street Crash of 1929, Walker Evans was commissioned by the Roosevelt administration to photograph the south-eastern United States during the Depression years of the 1930s. Beginning in 1935, Evans focused mainly on street scenes and architecture, but remains best known for his highly evocative, powerful portraits of farmers – images that have made a deep and lasting impression on the collective American subconscious.

Walker Evans's close friendship with Jerry Thompson began in 1971, when the two met at Yale University School of Art, where Evans taught photography. Jerry Thompson was a pupil of Evans, whose example confirmed his early intuition as a photographer – that art should seek to get as close as possible to its subjects, heightening the immediacy and power of the image.

Inspired by Walker Evans's historic portraits (exquisitely printed by John T. Hill), Thomson's striking photographs were taken on the streets of New York using an 8 x 10 camera. Imbued with a profound sense of humanity, his subjects are photographed as living individuals rather than objects of study.

The portraits on show at the Gallery at Hermès witness their subjects' social condition or counter-cultural identities. Coinciding with the show, In the Street is a collection of 65 images by Jerry Thompson, published by Steidl in Fall 2010.

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