Friday, March 12, 2010
Dorothea Lange -- New Books
While we are on the subject of non-Southern photographers working in the South, there are two new books out on Dorothea Lange, a California-based photographer most famous for the Migrant Mother image who worked in the South for a number of years while employed by Roy Stryker and the FSA.
The books are Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits, by Linda Gordon (Norton) and Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field, by Anne Whiston Spirn (Chicago).
Elaine Showalter has a detailed and thoughtful review of both titles in the Times Literary Supplement for February 19. She finds that these books are more about Lange as artist and woman than they are about the world she documented.
The images speak to Lange's perceptiveness about the people she photographed as well as to her skill as a photographer. In images like the one above (Plantation Overseer and His Field Hands, near Clarksdale. Mississippi), Lange gets the look, texture, and character of relationships in the rural South just right.