Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Happy Birthday, Dorothea Lange

depression era photo by Dorothea Lange
Born in 1895, Dorothea Lange was a distinguished contemporary of the great photographers of the 20th century - people who defined photography as we know it today.  You've seen her iconic photographs - their power still resonates.  And while further investigation suggests some images are not as spontaneous or candid as they might appear (vis-a-vis, Migrant Mother), I do not think this in any way diminishes their visual impact.

Lange's photo still rings true today.

In 1952, Lange wrote an article with her son Daniel Dixon titled Photographing the Familiar (Aperture, Vol 1, No. 2, 1952).  Their article is no less true today than 68 years ago.

"Tractored Out"
"For better or for worse, the destiny of the photographer is bound up with the destinies of the machine… His machine must prove that it can be endowed with the passion and humanity of the photographer; the photographer must prove that he has the passion and the humanity with which to endow the machine.”

"(A) great photograph first asks, then answers, two questions. Is that my world? What, if not, has that world to do with mine?”

“Bad as it is, the world is potentially full of good photographs.  But to be good, photographs have to be full of the world.”

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