FICTION

Dorothea's Eyes: Dorothea Lange Photographs the Truth

illus. by Gérard DuBois. 40p. bibliog. chron. further reading. photos. Calkins Creek. Mar. 2016. Tr $16.95. ISBN 9781629792088.
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Gr 2–5—This biography of celebrated photographer Dorothea Lange (best known for the iconic Migrant Mother) has a clear, consistent message: Lange's photographs are unique because they depict "people the world ignores" with both truth and love, allowing viewers to see the world with their eyes and hearts. The author chronicles the evolution of Lange's approach. An enthusiastic, curious observer who often felt invisible to others, Lange decided as a young woman to embark on a career as a photographer. She opened a successful portrait studio but ultimately was compelled to take to the streets to document the impact of the Great Depression on the poor. Lange later traveled the back roads and less familiar places, chronicling the lives of people during hard times. Despite her physical problems due to childhood polio, she traveled to 22 states, capturing the poverty of the homeless, jobless, and hungry. Lange's photographs, published in newspapers and magazines, convinced the government of the need for assistance. Statements in bold red print found throughout the text explain the growth of Lange's caring and truthful approach, while descriptive words written in gray print highlight the feelings Lange had that caused her to stand apart from others as a sympathetic observer: "Different. Watchful. Curious." DuBois employs a muted palette, and the striking illustrations have a faded look that complements the setting and mood. End matter includes an author's note and reprints of several of Lange's photographs.
VERDICT A solid introduction to one of America's most celebrated photographers.

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