When it comes to photography I am a late bloomer. I always had cameras growing up, I liked documenting my life and loved ones but I never thought of it as an art form or a vocation. I just snapped pictures to remember.
My discovery of photography as an art form happened in my mid-twenties when I moved to Paris. I was able to visit museums, spend hours in public libraries and bookstores. I would spend hours looking at photography books but because I was in graduate school money was a scarce resource and I couldn’t afford much of the books I wanted. The truth is that I will probably never be able to afford all the books I want.
The very first book I bought was a paperback edition of Dorothea Lange’s work. The strength of her work, her ability to tell a story within the frame of her image is mesmerizing.
Dorothea chose to leave a successful portrait studio and began to work for the Resettlement Administration (later the Farm Security Administration). During this period, she made her most famous image, Human Erosion in California (Migrant Mother), of Native American Florence Owens Thompson and her children in a pea-pickers’ camp. Other less famous subjects included Japanese internment camps and scenes of workers in factories during World War II.
Her insightful and compassionate photographs have exerted a profound influence on the development of modern documentary photography. Lange’s concern for people, her appreciation of the ordinary, and the striking empathy she showed for her subjects make her unique among photographers of her day.
I have since accrued my collection (to my husband’s dismay each time we move) to include many other of my favorite photographers. I had been thinking for a long time about sharing my love of books and photography but I wasn’t sure how to do it . Would I be able to find the words to describe the work? I’m still not sure about it but I am diving in.
You can see more of Dorothea Lange’s work on this Pinterest board. I also recommend her biography , I thought it was fascinating read. After admiring her for so long this book shed a light on the complexities of her personality.