In Search of Great Men
a solo exhibition by McNair Evans
McNair Evans' background of working summers as a teen repairing crossties and tracks on a 32-mile railroad freight line, combined with a recent trip from his hometown in North Carolina to Virginia, inspired the award-winning photographer to explore American from a new vantage-point. For the past four years Evans has embarked on biannual two-week long train trips, crisscrossing the country on Amtrak's seven passenger routes. Making its debut, Evans' epic project, In Search of Great Men, combines compelling portrait and landscape photography alongside photo-documentation of pages from first-person, passenger-written journals, offering the viewer a poignant and empathetic view of the diverse cross-section of travelers he encountered from 2012 - 2014.
For In Search of Great Men, Evans, who studied anthropology in college, spent his self-instigated "artist residencies" getting to know his fellow passengers who he often invited to write down their story about why they were on the train and where they were going. An Amish family traveling to Tijuana for medical treatment, a single mother commuting to the North Dakota oil fields, and a teenage son hoping to reunite with his father are a few of the travelers Evans shared time with. Collectively, their stories illustrate a moving portrait of the American people, and illuminate shared-experiences amidst forces of modernization.
For his forthcoming exhibition at San Francisco’s City Hall, Evans worked with exhibition curator Ann Jastrab to select approximately 100 photographs and journal reproductions from In Search of Great Men. The artist states, "At a time when such travel may soon be only a memory, this show 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." Intimate and at time autobiographical, In Search of Great Men explores a search for hope that so defines our national identity.
Intimate Portraits of Train Travelers Across America (Flavorwire)
What One Photographer Saw While Traveling the US (Slate.com)
Train Travelers on a Personal Journey in McNair Evans' Photos (San Francisco Examiner)
Art: We're the Center of the Universe (SF Weekly)
Long-haul Amtrak Portraits Get their Premiere (San Francisco Chronicle)
McNair Evans: In Search of Great Men (Juxtapoz Magazine)
The Secret Lives of Amtrak Passengers (The New Yorker)
San Francisco Artist Displays Photos of Strangers He Met on Trains (NBC Bay Area News Story)