Dorothea Lange’s exhibition at the National Gallery of Art in Landover, Maryland “Seeing People” explores how Lange’s portraits have shaped our understanding of documentary photography today and what significance they had for her vision and creative practice. Divided into six thematic sections, the exhibition starting in early November 2023 features portraits ranging from her early career as a studio photographer in San Francisco – the earliest work dates from 1919 – to her powerful coverage of the Great Depression and expressive photographs of everyday people and communities in the 1950s and early 1960s.
Works on display include portraits of Native Americans in Arizona and New Mexico from the 1920s and early 1930s, later depictions of striking workers, migrant farm workers, rural African Americans during the Jim Crow era, Japanese Americans denied civil rights during World War II and post-war baby boomers, as well as portraits of people in Ireland, Korea, Vietnam, Egypt and Venezuela that Lange made in the decade before her death in 1965.
Lange began her career as a commercial studio photographer in San Francisco in 1918, and her studio became a meeting place for artists who engaged in serious discussions about …
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Image above: Object ID: 5558-075 – Dorothea Lange. Country store on dirt road. Sunday afternoon. Note the kerosene pump on the right and the gasoline pump on the left. Rough, unfinished timber posts have been used as supports for porch roof. Black men are sitting on the porch. Brother of store owner stands in doorway, Gordonton, North Carolina, July 1939, printed later, gelatin silver print, image: 24.5 x 34.3 cm (9 5/8 x 13 1/2 in.) sheet: 25.6 x 35.4 cm (10 1/16 x 13 15/16 in.) mat: 16 x 20 in. frame (outside): 17 x 21 in. National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser