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Daring to Look presents never-before-published photos and captions from Dorothea Langes fieldwork in California, the Pacific Northwest, and North Carolina during 1939. Langes images of squatter camps, benighted farmers, and stark landscapes are stunning, and her captionswhich range from simple explanations of settings to historical notes and biographical sketchesadd unexpected depth, bringing her subjects and their struggles unforgettably to life, often in their own words.
When Lange was dismissed from the Farm Security Administration at the end of 1939, these photos and field notes were consigned to archives, where they languished, rarely seen. With Daring to Look, Anne Whiston Spirn not only returns them to the public eye, but sets them in the context of Langes pioneering life, work, and struggle for critical recognitionfirmly placing Lange in her rightful position at the forefront of American photography.
A thoughtful and meticulously researched account of Langes career. . . . Spirn, a photographer herself, traces Langes path, visiting her locations and subjects in a fascinating series of then and now shots.Publishers Weekly
Dorothea Lange has long been regarded as one of the most brilliant photographic witnesses we have ever had to the peoples and landscapes of America, but until now no one has fully appreciated the richness with which she wove images together with words to convey her insights about this nation. We are lucky indeed that Anne Whiston Spirn, herself a gifted photographer and writer, has now recovered Langes field notes and woven them into a rich tapestry of texts and images to help us reflect anew on Langes extraordinary body of work.William Cronon, author of Natures Metropolis