|THE GUDGER MANTEL
WALKER EVANS, circa 1935-1936
… Here I must say, a little anyhow: what I can hardly hope to bear out in the record: that a house of simple people which stands empty and silent in the vast Southern country morning sunlight, and everything which on this morning in eternal space it by chance contains, all thus left open and defenseless to a reverent and cold-laboring spy, shines quietly forth such grandeur, such sorrowful holiness of its exactitudes in existence, as no human consciousness shall ever rightly perceive, far less impart to another: that there can be more beauty and more deep wonder in the standings and spacings of mute furnishings on a bare floor between the squaring bourns of walls than in any music ever made: that this square home, as it stands in unshadowed earth between the winding years of heaven, is, not to me but of itself, one among the serene and final, uncapturable beauties of existence: that this beauty is made between hurt but invincible nature and the plainest cruelties and needs of human existence in this uncured time, and is inextricable among these, and as impossible without them as a saint born in paradise.
–From Let Us Now Praise Famous Men, by James Agee (text) and Walker Evans (photographs)
For more on the Gudger Mantel: Believing is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography, by Errol Morris
no object was removed, added, or arranged
on the right is a Baroque Madonna from The Cloisters, NY…