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Dorothea Lange Words & Pictures

Dorothea Lange Words & Pictures

Artbook | D. A. P.

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Toward the end of her life, Dorothea Lange reflected, “All photographs—not only those that are so-called ‘documentary’... can be fortified by words.” Though Lange's career is widely heralded, this connection between words and pictures has received scant attention. A committed social observer, Lange paid sharp attention to the human condition, conveying stories of everyday life through her photographs and the voices they drew in. Published in conjunction with the first major MoMA exhibition of Lange’s in 50 years, Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures brings fresh attention to iconic works from the collection together with lesser-known photographs—from early street photography to projects on the criminal justice system. The work’s complex relationships to words show Lange’s interest in art’s power to deliver public awareness and to connect to intimate narratives in the world.

Presenting Lange’s work in its diverse contexts—photobooks, Depression-era government reports, newspapers, magazines, poems—along with the voices of contemporary artists, writers and thinkers, the book offers a nuanced understanding of Lange’s career, and new means for considering words and pictures today. An introductory essay by curator Sarah Hermanson Meister is followed by sections organized according to “words” from a range of historical contexts: Lange’s landmark photobook An American Exodus, Life and Aperture magazines, an illustrated guide to minimize racism in jury trials, and many more. These contexts are punctuated with original contributions from a distinguished group of contemporary writers, artists and critical thinkers, including Julie Ault, Kimberly Juanita Brown, River Encalada Bullock, Sam Contis, Jennifer Greenhill, Lauren Kroiz, Sally Mann, Sandra Phillips, Wendy Red Star, Christina Sharpe, Rebecca Solnit, Robert Slifkin and Tess Taylor.

Dorothea Lange (1895–1965) operated a successful San Francisco portrait studio in the 1920s before going on to work with the Resettlement Administration (and later the Farm Security Administration) documenting the hardships of the Great Depression and Dust Bowl migration. During World War II, Lange worked for the US government photographing the Japanese American internment camps, and California’s wartime economy. Lange’s photographs were published widely during her lifetime. Lange worked closely with curator John Szarkowski on a retrospective that opened posthumously in 1966 at the Museum of Modern Art.

  • 176 pages
  • 70 color, and 76 duotone illustrations
  • Hardbound in cloth
  • 9 × 10½ in (22.8 × 26.6 cm)
  • Published in February, 2020 by the Museum of Modern Art

Explore related artwork by Dorothea Lange at the Chrysler Museum

Product Details

  • Exhibition Catalog
  • Hardcover
  • 160 pages
  • 145 illustrations
  • Publication date:
  • Height: 10.9 inches (27.7 cm)
  • Width: 9.4 inches (23.9 cm)
  • Thickness: 0.9 inches (2.3 cm)
  • 2.4 lb (38.4 oz; 1089 g)
  • ISBN: 9781633451049
  • SKU010003069

About Artbook | D. A. P.

Artbook | D.A.P.

Distributed Art Publishers, Inc. is America’s premier source for books on twentieth and twenty-first century art, photography, design and aesthetic culture. Founded in 1990 in downtown New York at a time when fine and sometimes esoteric international art books had a difficult time making their way into the wider American marketplace, over the past three decades D.A.P. has grown into a major international distributor of books, special editions and rare publications from an array of the world’s most respected publishers, museums and cultural institutions.

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