By Kerry Acker
Discusses the lifestyles and paintings of the 20th century American photographer, Dorothea Lange.
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Extra resources for Dorothea Lange (Women in the Arts)
The German-born aristocrat had moved his business from San Francisco, where he’d run a highly successful portrait studio. Genthe earned his reputation largely from his turn-of-the-century street photographs of the Chinatown section of San Francisco and of his shots of the devastation following the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire, yet his portrait business was his bread and butter. He’d had an impressive clientele on Learning the Craft the West Coast; society families, musicians, actors, and writers all sat for him.
T]he viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate. — Dorothea Lange When Lange and her family returned to San Francisco after their vacation in the Sierra Nevada, her life and her attitude toward her photographs began to undergo a transformation. She was gradually growing dissatisfied with her commercial portrait work and had made up her mind to make photographs 58 that she considered more serious, although she wasn’t exactly sure how she would go about it. She later said, when speaking about her portrait business, “I could have gone on with it, and enlarged it, and had a fairly secure living, a small personal business, had I not realized that it wasn’t really what I wanted, not really.
That place was my life,” she said. Every day at five o’clock, people would drop by and drink tea from the coal-heated samovar and eat teacakes. Playwrights, writers, musicians, and others filled her studio with lively discussions about art and politics as jazz music played on the phonograph. ” (Partridge, 25) She soon found out that those steps belonged to the Western wilderness painter Maynard Dixon, a friend of Roi Partridge and Imogen Cunningham. Dixon was a popular character who loomed large in the San Francisco bohemian crowd.