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Vocapedia > Media > Photojournalism - Warning: graphic

 

 

 

Press photographers capture the arrest of an anti-racist demonstrator

 

Photograph: John Hodder for the Observer

 

Flares and Fury: the Battle of Lewisham 1977 – in pictures

G

Saturday 12 August 2017        11.10 BST

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2017/aug/12/
flares-and-fury-the-battle-of-lewisham-1977

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life magazine’s D-Day photographers posing a week before the Normandy invasion.

 

Top row from left,

Bob Landry, George Rodger, Frank Scherschel and Robert Capa.

 

Bottom row from left,

Ralph Morse, John G. Morris and David Scherman.

 

London, 1945.

 

[ Anglonautes: check the photo's date, there might be some mistake here

as the Normandy invasion was launched on 6 June 1944 ]

 

George Rodger/Magnum Photos

 

As He Turns 100, John Morris Recalls a Century in Photojournalism

By James Estrin        NYT        Dec. 6, 2016 Dec. 6, 2016

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/
as-he-turns-100-john-morris-recalls-a-century-in-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An Iraqi woman searching through hundreds of bundles

of human remains for a missing family member

in Musayib, Iraq, south of Baghdad. May 30, 2003.

 

Ruth Fremson/The New York Times

 

Women in Photojournalism        By Ruth Fremson        NYT        Jul. 1, 2015

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/women-in-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A vulture watches a starving Sudanese child in 1993.

 

Photograph: Kevin Carter/Megan Patricia Carter Trust/Sygma/Corbis

 

Photojournalism in a world of words – in pictures

G

Saturday 5 December 2015        08.15 GMT

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/dec/05/
photojournalism-in-a-world-of-words-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Press Photo of the Year 2012

Paul Hansen/Sweeden/Dagens Nyheter

Nov. 20, 2012, Gaza City, Palestinian Territories.

 

Two-year-old Suhaib Hijazi

and her three-year-old brother Muhammad were killed

when their house was destroyed by an Israeli missile strike.

 

Their father, Fouad, was also killed

and their mother was put in intensive care.

 

Fouad’s brothers carry his children

to the mosque for the burial ceremony

as his body is carried behind on a stretcher.

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture

 

2013 World Press Photo Contest Winners        February 15, 2013

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/02/2013_world_press_photo_contest.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photographer        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/03/
the-moment-a-photographer-became-a-historian/

http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2013/05/30/
187292393/chicago-sun-times-fires-its-photographers

 

 

 

 

freelance photographer        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/21/
taking-picture-cared-people-image-greek-syrian

 

 

 

 

press photographer        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/gallery/2017/aug/12/
flares-and-fury-the-battle-of-lewisham-1977

 

 

 

 

be assigned by N        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/aug/21/
taking-picture-cared-people-image-greek-syrian

 

 

 

 

photo essay        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2013/07/26/
opinion/26corrective-rape.html

 

 

 

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture

Photojournalists under 25        March 4, 2013

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/03/
photojournalists_under_25.html

 

 

 

 

Timothy Alistair Hetherington        1970-2011

 

photographer and film-maker

Tim Hetherington was killed at the age of 40

while covering the escalating violence in Misrata, Libya.

 

The canon of work he bequeaths

defines a generation of reportage.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/apr/21/
tim-hetherington-obituary

 

 

 

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture

Photojournalist Chris Hondros Chris Hondros (1970-2011)

At Work in Misurata, Libya        21 April 2011

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/04/
photojournalist_chris_hondros.html

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/04/20/
chris-hondros-at-work-in-libya/

http://visualcultureblog.com/tag/chris-hondros/

http://www.chrishondros.com/

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9118474

 

 

 

 

New York Times > Lens > Photography, Video and Photojournalism        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/page/3/

 

 

 

 

photography > New York Times > Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/
business/media/22askthetimes.html

 

 

 

 

Boston Globe > Big Picture

Photographers in peril        April 18, 2011

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2011/04/
photographers_in_peril.html

 

 

 

 

Guardian photographer > David Levene        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/profile/davidlevene 

 

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2010/jan/27/
holocaust-memorial-day-survivors-stories 

 

 

 

 

Guardian photographer > Martin Argles        UK

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Dan O'Brien        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/nov/15/war-reporter-dan-obrien-review

 

 

 

 

war photographer

The Diary of a Shooter > The Documentary Photography of Zoriah Miller

http://www.diariesofashooter.com/stories.html  

http://zoriah.com/archivemainpage.html 

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Stefan Zaklin

http://homepage.mac.com/szaklin/Menu2.html

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Luis Sinco

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4183951

 

 

 

 

war photography        USA

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/weekend/july-dec13/warphotography_12-01.html

 

 

 

 

photographer / photojournalist > Dith Pran    CAM        1942-2008        UK/USA

 

photojournalist for The New York Times

whose gruesome ordeal in the killing fields of Cambodia

was re-created in a 1984 movie that gave him an eminence

he tenaciously used to press for his people’s rights

(...)

Mr. Dith saw his country

descend into a living hell

as he scraped and scrambled to survive

the barbarous revolutionary regime

of the Khmer Rouge from 1975 to 1979,

when as many as two million Cambodians

— a third of the population —

were killed, experts estimate.

 

Mr. Dith survived through nimbleness,

guile and sheer desperation.

His credo: Make no move

unless there was a 50-50 chance

of not being killed.

 

He had been a journalistic partner of Mr. Schanberg,

a Times correspondent assigned to Southeast Asia.

 

He translated, took notes and pictures,

and helped Mr. Schanberg maneuver

in a fast-changing milieu.

 

With the fall of Phnom Penh in 1975,

Mr. Schanberg was forced from the country,

and Mr. Dith became a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge,

the Cambodian Communists.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/nyregion/
31dith.html

 

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/31/nyregion/
31dith.html

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/31/cambodia.
pressandpublishing

 

 

 

 

Don McPhee        UK        1945-2007

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/mar/30/
pressandpublishing.guardianobituaries

https://www.theguardian.com/media/2007/mar/27/
pressandpublishing.guardianobituaries

 

 

 

 

James Karales         USA        1930-2002

 

photojournalist whose 1965 picture

of determined marchers outlined against a lowering sky

became a pictorial anthem of the civil rights movement
http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/05/
arts/james-karales-photographer-of-social-upheaval-dies-at-71.html 


http://www.sc.edu/uscpress/books/2013/7158.html

http://www.nytimes.com/2002/04/05/arts/
james-karales-photographer-of-social-upheaval-dies-at-71.html 

 

 

 

 

The Boston Globe > The Big Picture

News stories in photographs        USA

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: To Publish or Not?        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/behind-13/

 

 

 

 

photojournalism        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/gallery/2017/apr/10/
eddie-adam-photojournalism-saigon-execution-pictures

 

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/2016/dec/04/
the-lion-tamer-from-lilliput-and-the-birth-of-observer-photography

https://www.theguardian.com/theobserver/gallery/2016/dec/03/
seven-decades-of-classic-photography-from-the-observer

 

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2015/dec/05/
photojournalism-in-a-world-of-words-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

photojournalism        USA

https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/02/18/
photojournalisms-uncertain-future-she-begs-to-differ/

https://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2017/02/15/
the-uncertain-future-of-photojournalism/

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/
as-he-turns-100-john-morris-recalls-a-century-in-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

photojournalist        UK

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2003/feb/14/iraq.
features11

 

 

 

 

photojournalist        USA

http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2017/08/24/
545705213/a-retired-marine-and-a-photojournalist-confront-wars-invisible-injuries

 

 

 

 

Picture Post photographer Thurston Hopkins        UK        19 April 2013

 

Picture Post photographer

Thurston Hopkins at 100 - audio slideshow

 

On his 100th birthday this week,

one of the great photojournalists of the 20th century,

Thurston Hopkins, talks about his career

as a photographer at Picture Post

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/audioslideshow/2013/apr/19/
picture-post-thurston-hopkins 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/photography-blog/2013/apr/12/
photography-thurston-hopkins-photojournalist-picture-post

 

 

 

 

on assignment for The New York Times        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/07/25/world/middleeast/
20080726_CENSOR2_6.html

 

 

 

 

be embedded / disembedded        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2008/07/25/world/middleeast/
20080726_CENSOR2_5.html

 

 

 

 

Behind the Scenes: To Publish or Not?        USA        2009

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/09/04/
behind-13/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Documentaire > Photographes contre l'apartheid        FR

Le Bang Bang Club        55mn        WDR        Allemagne

 

Sous l’apartheid,

le quotidien The Star,

qui prenait clairement position contre le régime raciste,

était le plus puissant organe de presse d’Afrique du Sud.

 

Dans les années 1990,

il employait une équipe de photojournalistes

dont les clichés spectaculaires ont fait le tour du monde,

et hantent aujourd’hui encore l’inconscient collectif.

 

Ken Oosterbroek,

Greg Marinovich,

Kevin Carter

et João Silva

formaient le « Bang Bang Club »,

qui couvrit les événements

depuis la libération de Nelson Mandela

jusqu’aux élections de 1994.

 

Quatre années durant lesquelles

20 000 personnes furent tuées

dans des combats rapprochés

entre partisans de l’ANC

et de l’Inkatha, le parti adverse.

 

Persuadés de la nécessité

de rendre compte de ces assassinats,

mus par l’ivresse du danger,

ces « voyous » de la photographie

ont été jusqu’à accompagner

les auteurs des massacres

pour documenter leurs crimes.

 

Si ces expériences

sont profondément traumatiques,

elles suscitent également

des controverses d’ordre éthique :

face à la mort d’autrui,

comment rester simple spectateur ?

 

Kevin Carter en a fait les frais :

sa célèbre image couronnée du Prix Pulitzer

– un enfant soudanais épuisé, guetté par un vautour –

essuya un flot de critiques.

 

Hanté par les horreurs vues

et par la mort de Ken Oosterbroek,

tué dans un échange de tirs,

il se suicide l’année suivante.

 

Quant à João Silva,

il a perdu ses deux jambes en 2010

après avoir sauté sur une mine en Afghanistan,

l’appareil à la main.

 

À travers leurs récits

et ceux de leurs proches,

ce film propose un portrait saisissant

de ces quatre écorchés vifs,

chroniqueurs d’une histoire sanglante.

http://www.arte.tv/guide/fr/048230-000/photographes-contre-l-apartheid

 

http://www.arte.tv/guide/fr/048230-000/photographes-contre-l-apartheid

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/29/
twenty-years-after-apartheid/

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/09/02/
joao-silva-looking-back-moving-forward/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Press Photo        USA

https://www.worldpressphoto.org/

 

https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/02/25/
587689051/extraordinary-moments-top-contenders-for-a-photojournalism-prize

 

 

 

 

World Press Photo Awards  2014        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/media/gallery/2014/feb/14/
world-press-photo-awards-2014-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

World Press Photo Awards  2013        UK / USA

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2013/02/
2013_world_press_photo_contest.html

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2013/feb/15/
world-press-photo-2013-pictures

 

 

 

 

World Press Photo Awards 2010        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2010/feb/12/
photography-pressandpublishing

 

 

 

 

The Picture Editors' Guild Awards 2011 – in pictures        UK

 

Winners announced from thousands of entries

from professional photographers throughout the media

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2011/sep/21/
picture-editors-guild-awards-gallery

 

 

 

 

The UK Picture Editors’ Guild Awards 2010        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/gallery/2010/may/12/
gordon-brown-labourleadership

http://www.piced.net/winners-2010x.html

 

 

 

 

photography Pulitzers        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/
the-new-york-times-wins-two-photography-pulitzers/

 

 

 

 

Photographs that stunned the world:

vintage Pulitzer winners        UK        12 February 2014

 

From toddlers disrupting street parades

to plane crash near-misses,

JFK and a Fidel Castro firing squad,

these historic award-winning images

capture moments of beauty, horror and despair.

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2014/feb/12/
eyewitness-pulitzer-prizewinning-photographs-in-pictures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Magnum        UK / USA

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2017/may/12/
magnum-photos-at-70-in-pictures

 

https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/gallery/2016/jun/10/
the-more-or-less-decisive-moments-magnum-photos

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/06/08/
magnum-chooses-the-decisive-and-transforming-photo/

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/gallery/2010/feb/04/
magnum-photograph-dell

 

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/02/01/
archive-10/

 

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/02/
arts/design/02magnum.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photojournalism        UK / USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/
the-n-p-p-a-s-best-of-photojournalism/

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/2012/dec/22/
don-mccullin-photojournalism-celebrity-interview

 

 

 

 


Women in Photojournalism

NYT        Lens        USA        Jul. 1, 2015

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2015/07/01/
women-in-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

The National Press Photographers Association

2013 Best of Photojournalism contest        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/
the-n-p-p-a-s-best-of-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

photojournalism > Reuters > Pictures

http://www.reuters.com/news/pictures

 

 

 

 

photojournalism > Reuters photographers > What makes a great picture?

http://blogs.reuters.com/photo/

 

 

 

 

photojournalism > Reuters > Full focus

http://blogs.reuters.com/fullfocus/

 

 

 

 

photojournalism > New York Times

 

One in 8 Million tells the stories

of New York characters in sounds and images

 

Photographs by Todd Heisler        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/packages/html/nyregion/
1-in-8-million/index.html#/rivka_karasik

 

 

 

 

New York Times > Lens

Photography, Video and Photojournalism        USA

https://www.nytimes.com/section/lens 

 

 

 

 

photography > New York Times

Assistant Managing Editor Michele McNally        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/22/
business/media/22askthetimes.html

 

 

 

 

A Long Exposure:

100 years of Guardian photography        UK

 

The exhibition includes striking work taken

since the paper appointed

its first staff photographer,

Walter Doughty, in 1908.

 

A Long Exposure:
100 Years of Guardian Photography

runs until March 1 2009 at The Lowry

in Salford, Greater Manchester

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/interactive/2008/oct/21/
theguardian-pressandpublishing

 

 

 

 

Guardian photographer > David Levene        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/profile/davidlevene

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jan/27/
holocaust-memorial-day-survivors-stories

 

 

 

 

Guardian photographer > Martin Argles        UK

http://www.guardian.co.uk/artanddesign/interactive/2008/dec/29/
martin-argles-best-2008

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

war > embedded        USA

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1961891

 

 

 

 

embedded reporters > embedded artist > Steve Mumford        USA

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4854668

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Joao Silva        USA

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/24/world/asia/
24silva.html

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Stefan Zaklin

http://homepage.mac.com/szaklin/Menu2.html

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Chris Hondros        USA        1970-2011

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9118474

 

 

 

 

war photographer > Luis Sinco

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4183951

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

photographer / photojournalist > Dith Pran        USA

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/mar/31/cambodia.
pressandpublishing

 

 

 

 

The Boston Globe

The Big Picture > News stories in photographs        USA

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

edit a picture > manipulate an image        UK

http://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/photography-blog/2014/jan/23/
associated-press-narciso-contreras-syria-photojournalism

 

 

 

 

photo editor        USA

http://lens.blogs.nytimes.com/2016/12/06/
as-he-turns-100-john-morris-recalls-a-century-in-photojournalism/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Picturing the Depression

 

October 25, 2009

The New York Times

By DAVID OSHINSKY

 

DOROTHEA LANGE

A Life Beyond Limits

By Linda Gordon

Illustrated. 536 pp.

W. W. Norton & Company. $35

 

Any list of the most enduring American photographs of the past century is likely to include Joe Rosenthal’s “Flag Raising on Iwo Jima”; John Filo’s image of a young woman at Kent State kneeling in anguish over the body of a mortally wounded college protester; and Richard Drew’s “Falling Man,” showing the fatal descent of a solitary figure from a high floor of the World Trade Center on 9/11. But perhaps the most iconic image — gracing textbooks, hanging from dormitory walls, affixed to political posters, even adorning a postage stamp — is Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother,” taken at a California farmworkers camp in 1936. The photo shows a woman nurturing three young children, one in her arms, the others leaning on her for support. Her manner is strong and protective, yet her face shows the worry of someone overpowered by events beyond her control. She has trekked west from the ravaged Dust Bowl of Oklahoma, finding fieldwork where she can. Gazing into space, she represents the spirit of America itself in the midst of history’s worst economic disaster — the mix of courage and compassion that will lead a proud, invincible nation to endure.

“Migrant Mother” has a serendipitous history, as Linda Gordon makes clear in “Dorothea Lange,” an absorbing, exhaustively researched and highly political biography of a transformative figure in the rise of modern photojournalism. Lange had been hired by the Farm Security Administration, one of the New Deal’s more progressive agencies, to document the plight of farmworkers in the Great Depression, a mandate that covered everyone from Southern black sharecroppers to Dust Bowl refugees to Mexican-American migrants in the fields stretching from ­Texas to California. Led by Roy Stryker, a phenomenal talent spotter, the F.S.A. photography project schooled the likes of Walker Evans, Gordon Parks, Arthur Rothstein and Ben Shahn. Most came from urban backgrounds. “I didn’t know a mule from a tractor,” Lange admitted. What bound them together was their devotion to the principles of social justice represented by the New Deal.

Lange’s territory included all of California, which she covered by automobile. Driving north on Route 101 on a miserable winter’s day, she passed a hand-lettered sign reading “Pea-Pickers Camp” near the town of Nipomo. Lange drove on for 20 miles before something pulled her back. On the job for almost a year, she had come to understand the rhythms of migrant life, the periods of physically exhausting labor followed by even longer (unpaid) periods of emotionally draining inactivity. In the Nipomo camp, Lange met Florence Thompson, 32, the mother of 11 children, five born out of wedlock. The family was in desperate straits, living off stolen vegetables from the fields. Lange took a half-dozen photos, putting Thompson and her children in different poses. She took the photos from just outside their tent, even moving a pile of soiled laundry aside, so as not to embarrass the subjects by noting their squalid living conditions. (Though Gordon doesn’t mention it, Lange may have decided to use only three of the children to avoid the public perception of “Okies” as irresponsible “white trash.”) For the key photo, she “made the unusual decision to ask the two youngsters leaning on their mother to turn their faces away from the camera,” Gordon writes. “She was building the drama and impact of the photograph by forcing the viewer to focus entirely on Florence Thompson’s beauty and anxiety, and by letting the children’s bodies, rather than their faces, express their dependence on their mother.”

Gordon, who teaches history at New York University, is a leading scholar of gender and family in modern American life. (I teach part of the year at N.Y.U. but have rarely crossed paths with her.) Not surprisingly, she spends a fair amount of space on Lange’s personal life and role as a female photographer in a male-­dominated profession. Born in Hoboken, N.J., in 1895 to middle-class German-American parents, Lange faced two handicaps as a child: a severe bout with polio that left her with a permanently weakened leg and an absentee father who abandoned the family and never returned. As Gordon sees it, Lange overcame the physical handicap a lot more easily than the emotional one, though each increased her empathy for people on the margins of society. Showing little interest in school, Lange apprenticed herself to a string of portrait photographers in New York, where she learned the mechanics of the trade and the art of bonding seamlessly with her subject. “Photography was a new profession and therefore not defined as a uniquely male skill or tradition,” Gordon says. In San Francisco, where Lange moved in 1918, she created a portrait studio “successful beyond her dreams.”

She was married twice: first to the artist Maynard Dixon, who introduced her to the wonders of nature; next to Paul Schuster Taylor, an economics professor, who kindled her interest in progressive reform. Gordon expertly analyzes the political culture of Depression-era California, where the enormous power of big agriculture kept tens of thousands of landless workers in peonage and despair. She portrays Lange as an ambivalent radical, deeply sympathetic to the plight of the migrants yet uncomfortable with the chaos that social conflict inevitably produced. Early in the Depression, Lange had tried but failed to photograph the labor protests that shook San Francisco. “Much of the action was so fast-moving and so violent that slow-moving Lange could not or would not get close,” Gordon writes. “This was the territory of the new breed of adventurous photojournalists.” Lange’s talent lay elsewhere.

Gordon is more in tune with the politics of Paul Taylor, who believed in organized protest to redress economic grievances, than she is with Lange’s more passive approach. A portrait photographer at heart, Lange stressed the inner emotions of those facing injustice and deprivation. “Her documentary photography was portrait photography,” Gordon says. “What made it different was its subjects, and thereby its politics.” An individualist at heart, Lange provided an alternative to the photography of wretchedness, which centered on the misery of beaten-down victims, as well as to the Popular Front mythology, which showed earnest, well-muscled men and women laboring together in fields and factories to produce a Soviet-style paradise on earth. Lange saw America as a worthy work in progress, incomplete and capable of better. By portraying her subjects as nobler than their current conditions, she emphasized the strength and optimism of our national character. She became, in Gordon’s words, “America’s pre-eminent photographer of democracy.”

But not for long. Though Lange would go on to photograph the dehumanizing process of Japanese-American internment during World War II and produce a number of elegant spreads for Life magazine, her unique brand of photojournalism — dignified, personal, contemplative — was overwhelmed by the action of wartime photography and the more abstract avant-garde imagery to come. In some ways, Lange, who died in 1965, remains frozen in the ’30s — a relic of the Depression and the enormous creative energy it unleashed. But even a glance at “Migrant Mother” reminds us of the timelessness of her best work. “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera,” she liked to say. Gordon’s elegant biography is testament to Lange’s gift for challenging her country to open its eyes.

 

David Oshinsky is the Jack S. Blanton professor of history

at the University of Texas and a distinguished scholar

in residence at New York University.

Picturing the Depression,
NYT,
25.10.2009,
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/10/25/
books/review/Oshinsky-t.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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