Monday, February 15, 2016

Winter Reading 2016 Dorothea's Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth


Have you ever seen the iconic photo of the migrant mother? Dorothea Lange took that photo and hundreds of others, but she was not always a photographer. As a child she noticed things - faces, shadows, patterns, buildings - there was plenty to see in New York. When she tells her family that she pans to be a photographer they don't understand. It isn't ladylike to mix chemicals, carry around heavy equipment, and spend her time with strangers. But Dorothea knows what she wants and finds work in photography studios, learning everything she can for five years. She move to San Francisco and starts her own portrait studio, but then the Great Depression hits. Her love of faces leads her to make photos of bread lines, tent cities, in twenty-two states she takes these pictures for five years. Her photos make the plight of these people known to everyone and help convince politicians of the need for programs to help them.

The back matter contains some of Dorothea's photos and more details about her life and work. There is also a bibliography, further reading suggestions, and a timeline to help out those who are interested in learning  more. The text of the book does a wonderful job of focusing on Dorothea's interest in people from her childhood through her whole life, and the connection she made with those she photographed. I love the period details in the illustrations such as the clothing, the cars, and even the cameras that Dorothea uses. It would be fun to bring in cameras from various time periods and let my students see how they have changed as technology improved. Kids today don't really know about film and dark rooms and box cameras.

I highly recommend this to classrooms, libraries, and anyone interested in famous women, the Great Depression, or photography. I read a copy provided by the publisher for review purposes.

*  Update - 08/01/2016 We have added this title to the Fairview Library.

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