By Kerry Acker

Discusses the lifestyles and paintings of the 20 th century American photographer, Dorothea Lange.

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Extra info for Dorothea Lange (Women in the Arts)

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So she left his studio and found work in the Fifth Avenue 37 38 DOROTHEA LANGE studio of Mrs. A. Spencer-Beatty. In this job, for which Lange was paid $12 weekly, she started out doing simple tasks. The nature of Lange’s duties changed drastically, though, when Spencer-Beatty found herself in a bit of a jam. Spencer-Beatty had just one camera operator on staff (she contracted out the retouching and printing). Shortly after Lange began working for her, Spencer-Beatty’s operator quit. Faced with an expensive commission to fulfill, the desperate Spencer-Beatty assigned the job to Lange, sending her out to photograph the rich Irving Brokaw family.

Indeed, Lange believed that she was essentially self-taught. “I have learned from everything, and I’m constantly learning. ” (Meltzer, 18) 31 Learning the Craft 1913 –1918 As photographs give people an imaginary possession of a past that is unreal, they also help people to take possession of space in which they are insecure. — Susan Sontag, On Photography (1977) There is nothing worse than a brilliant image of a fuzzy concept. ” (Meltzer, 22) She insisted that her daughter pursue a practical vocation so she could make a steady living.

Dorothea later admitted that she disagreed with this whole premise, feeling that it would interfere with her artistic goals. ” (Meltzer, 22) But she was forced to continue with her 32 A restless spirit. At a time when few women worked outside the home and even fewer pursued professional careers, Lange pressed on toward her dream of becoming a professional photographer. She was used to feeling like an outsider, so the pressures of society to conform to a woman’s role did not faze her — and she followed her mission relentlessly and without caring what the world might think of her.

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