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Press Release: Spirn, Daring to Look

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Despite the ubiquity of Dorothea Lange’s photographs, a surprisingly large number of them have languished in archives, more or less unseen, for decades. With Daring to Look, Anne Whiston Spirn brings nearly 200 of those photos to light, revealing new facets of Lange’s celebrated achievement.
Daring to Look is far more than just a book of photos, however. Spirn presents the images—taken in 1939 in California, North Carolina, and the Pacific Northwest—alongside Lange’s own field notes and captions, which the photographer considered to be an essential component of her attempt to document the hardscrabble lives of her subjects. Spirn joins that work to an insightful account of Lange’s life, as well as a fascinating look at the current state of many of the locations Lange shot. Spirn’s own photographs of those towns and farms reflect the changes—and the surprising continuity—over decades, carrying Lange’s documentary project into a new century.
Daring to Look brings to life a crucial moment in American history—and illuminates a missing period in the life of one of America’s greatest artists.
Read the press release.