McNair Evans ’01 Goes ‘In Search of Great Men’

Award-winning photographer and Guggenheim Fellow McNair Evans '01 explores themes of shared experiences and identity by photographing the American cultural landscape amidst forces of modernization. His personal, often autobiographical, subject matter is recognized for its literary character, unconventional narrative form, and metaphoric use of light.

Evans, who grew up in a small farming town in North Carolina discovered photography while studying anthropology at Davidson College.

Here, Evans shares selections from his recent project, In Search of Great Men, now on view at San Francisco City Hall through Nov. 18.

Evans' artist statement reads, in part:

The Aristocrat, the California Zephyr, the Empire Builder...

They were once our great-grandfathers' vision of progress. From their inception and race across the North American continent, these trains shaped our nation's identity. While the U.S. freight industry operates more than 139,679 miles of track, Amtrak is a skeleton of the passenger service that once connected the county.

The train can be a beautiful way to travel but, for the most part, long-distance trains are used by people trying to get their lives together, find work, or reunite with people they love and hope will love them back. This project explores that search for something just out of reach and a bit intangible. It is about the desire for change and the possibility of hope fulfilled.

Read more and view a gallery featuring selections from the series In Search of Great Men.


  • July 20, 2016