Documentarian as Moral Witness
Coles, Chapter 3, “The Tradition: Fact and Fiction,” takes us deeper into discussion of Dorothea Lange’s role in shaping the American tradition of social documentary. Please read the first 25-30 pages of this chapter for Tuesday, and the remainder of the chapter for Thursday. Of course, Lange is not the only documentarian who shows up in this chapter, but we start with her, building on our discussion from last time. In addition, for Tuesday, please read the introductory chapter to Linda Gordon’s book on Dorothea Lange. That chapter is a pdf accessible in our Canvas course. For Thursday, please read the second Gordon excerpt I’ve uploaded to Canvas, “Lange Migrant Mother,” also accessible under Files.
This week’s blog prompt provides a chance to reflect on Dorothea Lange’s documentary work and to begin tying it to the larger issue of location. This is pre-writing for your next essay which goes deeper into the concept of location. You’re welcome to write on any aspect of Lange’s work that you find interesting, or begin with this prompt:
With the help of Gordon and Coles, how would you describe Lange’s location as a documentarian photographer? What perspective, or point of view, shaped the way she used her camera? Please include an image in your post that helps illustrate or represent your written reflections. I look forward to reading your ideas on this!