"In this thoughtful and meticulously researched account of Lange's career, Spirn focuses on the photographer's largely unpublished 1939 portfolio and champions it as a mix of the visual and the verbal. Lange's stark photographs and accompanying field reports testify to her desire to show real Depression-era Americans-displaced and downtrodden, but carrying on nevertheless-as honestly as possible; they are published as a whole in the second section of Spirn's book....Spirn, a photographer herself, traces Lange's path, visiting her locations and subjects in a fascinating series of ''then and now'' shots, an homage to Lange, who Spirn compellingly argues deserves to take her place as ''one of the most important American artists of the Twentieth Century.''
- Publishers Weekly

"Dorothea Lange is one of America's greatest documentary photographers. Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field is a very important book. It provides a fascinating insight into her FSA photographs and writings during that time. Ms. Lange's photographs, especially the work she did for the FSA were a great inspiration for so many photographers, including myself."
- Mary Ellen Mark, photographer

The Book

DARING TO LOOK is the first book to restore Dorothea Lange’s work to its full context by reproducing the text of her field reports together with the images she captured on film.

The book focuses on a single year, 1939, when Lange began to write her “reports from the field” or general captions as she called them. It was a pivotal year for Lange’s work and for the nation.

In DARING TO LOOK Lange tells the stories of dozens of families against the backdrop of the places they live and the larger processes that are shaping their lives. Her reports from the field reveal the heartrending consequences of shifts in jobs and decline in industry and their impact on the environment, the human stress of migration and resettlement. They demonstrate too the human capacity for endurance, resilience, cooperation, and hope.

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