Snapshot: ‘Church Organ and Pews’ (1936), by Walker Evans

The photograph above shows the interior of an Alabama church. An ornately carved organ stands out amid otherwise spartan furnishings; a small sign details the awarding of points for “Attendance”, “Bible Brought” and “Offering”. Walker Evans took the photo in 1936 while travelling in the South with his friend James Agee, who was reporting for Fortune magazine on the lives of tenant farmers. Evans’s unvarnished portraits of labourers, store owners and children became famous as images of a Depression-struck America but he was also preoccupied with institutions – from churches to barber shops. New York’s Museum of Modern Art celebrates the 75th anniversary of Evans’s landmark American Photographs exhibition of 1938 with an installation of 60 prints which runs to January 25.

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