McNair Evans

McNair Evans

Fellow: Awarded 2016
Field of Study: Photography

Competition: US & Canada

McNair Evans is an award-winning photographer living in San Francisco, California.

He explores themes of shared experiences and identity by photographing the American cultural landscape admits forces of modernization. His personal, often autobiographical, subject matter is recognized for its literary character, unconventional narrative form, and metaphoric use of light.

Growing up in a small farming town in North Carolina, McNair Evans worked repairing track on a 32-mile railroad. He discovered photography studying anthropology at Davidson College (BA, 2001).

He continued his education with one-on-one mentorships with highly acclaimed pioneers of new documentary practices, Mike Smith of Johnson City, Tennessee, and Magnum Photographer Alec Soth while earning a Masters of Fine Arts in Photography. Soth nominated McNair for the John Gutmann Foundation Photography Fellowship Award (2014).

In 2010, McNair Evans returned to his childhood home of Laurinburg, North Carolina to retrace his father’s life and legacy after his death nine years earlier. The themes of this project were universal—the relationship between fathers and sons, the strength of family, and the disappearance of an agrarian way of life. Pre-released at the New York Art Book Fair (Owl & Tiger Books, 2014), Confessions for a Son sold out within months.

In 2014 with a North Carolina Arts Council grant McNair created a public art project compiling Laurinburg’s photographic history through a custom, online platform combining social media ideology with DCMI standards. Content collected resulted in public art installations in downtown spaces.

For three years, McNair has taken two-week Amtrak trips to meet and photograph passengers. He elicits first person, passenger-written journals, often about connection and change. Intimate, and at times autobiographical, In Search of Great Men explores a search for hope that so defines national identity.

His photographs are exhibited and held in public and private collections including those of the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Sir Elton John. McNair’s work has been featured in editorial publications such as Harper’s Magazine, The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, The San Francisco Chronicle, and The Financial Times, as well as on the cover of William Faulkner’s novel, Flags in the Dust.

McNair is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York City and lectures regularly at universities and colleges.

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