Revealing artistic abilities in his childhood, Walker Evans took on photography in New York after having travelled in Paris with the intention to become a writer. His early photographs thus revealed an European influence with their formal graphic aesthetic. In June 1935, he accepted a job from the US Department of the Interior to photograph a resettlement community of coal minors in West Virginia. With this assignment, he clearly moved towards a realistic manner that documented the Great Depression with much elegance and distance. From the country’s individuals to its social institutions as well as the architectural relics of rural towns, the American photographer depicted a precise yet poetic portrait of the country even when he decided to produce a series within New York’s subway where ‘even more than in lone bedrooms (where there are mirrors), people’s faces are in naked repose down.’ With his visual encyclopedia of America’s journey into modernity, Walker Evans pioneered a documentary tradition that influenced such photographers as Helen Levitt, Robert Frank and Lee Friedlander.