Monday, November 23, 2009

Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an influential Americian documentary photographer and photojournalist.  Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.

Dorothea Lange 

 On Saturday 21st November, the Irish Times reviewed a new biography of this well known photographer of iconic Americian images. Linda Gordon writes, " DOROTHEA LANGE’S photography has been the subject of several dozen books, but to date there has been only one full-length biography, the seminal A Photographer’s Life , by Milton Meltzer, published in 1978. Written just 13 years after Lange’s death, when most of her friends and family were still available for consultation, Meltzer’s tome was so thorough that no rival emerged for more than three decades.

Linda Gordon’s new account of the photographer’s life, Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits , presents the first challenge to Meltzer’s work, and therefore must answer a crucial question: does it add much to our understanding of Lange and her time?

Dorothea Lange was born in 1895 in the New Jersey suburb of Hoboken. At the age of 22 she set out to travel the world, but got only as far as San Francisco. She established a successful photographic studio where the moneyed families of the area came to have their portraits created.
By the early 1930s Lange’s social conscience drew her away from the comfort of the studio and into the streets and fields to document the human cost of the Great Depression, the refugees from the US Dust Bowl who had arrived in California.
She was one of the first photojournalists, or documentary photographers, and to many of us she remains the greatest. Her images of the United States during the 1930s are the most enduring impressions of the Great Depression. Her image of a destitute mother of seven that she captioned Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1936, is one of the world’s most reproduced photographs". Click here to read the rest of this article.

               from the Migrant Mother Series, California 1936