Penny Picture Display, Savannah

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

Date: 1936

Medium: Gelatin silver print

Dimensions: 24.7 x 19.3 cm (9 3/4 x 7 5/8 in.)

Classification: Photographs

Credit Line: Ford Motor Company Collection, Gift of Ford Motor Company and John C. Waddell, 1987

Accession Number: 1987.1100.482


This picture is a composite portrait of a slice of society. It represents the window display of an anonymous portrait photographer in the South during the Depression. He was evidently not much of an artist but was good at pinching pennies, eager for business, and proud of his trade. On each of his large negatives he managed to make fifteen individual portraits. He thought most exposures good enough to use in this advertising display but covered his occasional failures with more successful images cut from other contact sheets.