Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange is one of the great artists of the twentieth century, the photographer who made “Migrant Mother”of 1936, perhaps the most famous photograph ever made.

“I used to think in terms of single photographs, the bull’s-eye technique,” Dorothea Lange said. “No more. A photographic statement is more what I now reach for.” Yet Lange’s photographs are usually presented as individual images rather than in sequenced stories. Unlike many artists, Lange also believed that words could enhance her photographs.

The book DARING TO LOOK, for the first time, groups Lange’s photographs together with the field reports she wrote to accompany them. These eloquent images and words provide a window into the mind and heart of the woman who created some of the most iconic images of her generation.


On “the visual life”
On the camera as a “great teacher”
On “the words that come direct from the people”
On "daring to look"
On “the subject of poverty”
On “where the human leaves off and the inhuman begins”
On thinking “in twos”
On “photographs which proceed one from the other”
On the photograph as “an act of love”

At the end of her life, Dorothea Lange talked about photography and her life’s work. Her conversations were taped by KQED, the San Francisco public television station between July 1964 and September 1965, the month before she died. The excerpts here are from tapes in the Dorothea Lange Collection at the Oakland Museum of California.


For an outline of major events of Dorothea Lange’s life in historical context, see this timeline.