Trade in your item
Get a $1.59
Gift Card.
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field Hardcover – July 15, 2008


See all 4 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$174.95 $160.00

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 376 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press; First Edition edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226769844
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226769844
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.8 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #255,686 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In this thoughtful and meticulously researched account of Lange's career, Spirn focuses on the photographer's largely unpublished 1939 portfolio and champions it as a masterful mix of the visual and the verbal. Lange's stark photographs and accompanying field reports testify to her desire to show real Depression-era Americans—displaced and downtrodden, but carrying on nevertheless—as honestly as possible; they are published as a whole in the second section of Spirn's book. These photographs include Lange's much vaunted portraits—of sharecroppers hunched in tobacco fields and mothers with their hungry children—as well as some of her lesser known landscape photography. The reverential Spirn, a photographer herself, traces Lange's path, visiting her locations and subjects in a fascinating series of then and now shots, an homage to Lange, who Spirn compellingly argues deserves to take her place as one of the most important American artists of the Twentieth Century. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

“As a lifelong friend of Dorothea Lange, I was absolutely astounded and thoroughly pleased with Daring to Look. Anne Whiston Spirn has hit the nail on the head: she knows the secret of understanding good  photography--and of understanding Dorothea Lange's life as well. An astonishing book.”

(Rondal Partridge, photographer and former assistant to Lange)

“Dorothea Lange has long been regarded as one of the most brilliant photographic witnesses we have ever had to the peoples and landscapes of America, but until now no one has fully appreciated the richness with which she wove images together with words to convey her insights about this nation. We are lucky indeed that Anne Whiston Spirn, herself a gifted photographer and writer, has now recovered Lange’s field notes and woven them into a rich tapestry of texts and images to help us reflect anew on Lange’s extraordinary body of work.”
(William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West)

“Dorothea Lange is known as one of the greatest American photographers, but she was also a remarkable observer whose field notes have largely remained unpublished until now. In Daring to Look, Anne Whiston Spirn, a landscape architect, photographer, and writer herself, has edited Lange's field notes, adding her own interpretative essays on Lange's work, and rephotographing some of Lange’s sites. This is a very important book deserving wide readership because it provides a wonderful combination of the socially conscious work of two gifted artists and writers.”—Dolores Hayden, Yale University
(Dolores Hayden, Yale University)

"Dorothea Lange is one of America’s greatest documentary photographers. Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange’s Photographs and Reports from the Field is a very important book. It provides a fascinating insight into her FSA photographs and writings during that time. Ms. Lange’s photographs, especially the work she did for the FSA were a great inspiration for so many photographers, including myself."
(Mary Ellen Mark, photographer)

"In this thoughtful and meticulously researched account of Lange's career, Spirn focuses on the photographer's largely unpublished 1939 portfolio and champions it as a mix of the visual and the verbal. Lange's stark photographs and accompanying field reports testify to her desire to show real Depression-era Americans—displaced and downtrodden, but carrying on nevertheless—as honestly as possible. . . . Spirn, a photographer herself, traces Lange's path, visiting her locations and subjects in a fascinating series of 'then and now' shots, an homage to Lange, who Spirn compellingly argues deserves to take her place as 'one of the most important American artists of the Twentieth Century.'"
(Publishers Weekly)

"A revealing glimpse of Lange's working methods and social vision."
(Choice)

“In the fascinating Daring to Look, a product of dogged archival reconstruction and shrewd readings of individual photographs, Anne Whiston Spirn presents a case study of Lange’s artistic agility. . . . Spirn demonstrates how vigorously the joint effort of word and image rebuts the standard deprecations of Lange’s work.”

(Jordan Bear Bookforum)

"Imaginative and beautifully produced, Anne Whiston Spirn's book is a delightful hybrid: a newly published primary source, a photography book with a fine introduction . . . an apologia for Lange against her often snobbish critics."
(Linda Gordon Oregon Historical Quarterly)

More About the Authors

Discover books, learn about writers, read author blogs, and more.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
5 star
9
4 star
4
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
See all 13 customer reviews
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Arthur S. Pease on July 18, 2008
Format: Hardcover
As someone who used iconic Lange photos in my American Studies classes for years, this book in one I wish I had had BEFORE I retired last year! Their are photos I hadn't seen, in areas I didn't know she worked and, most importantly, her 'reports from the field'. These notes and extended captions give tremendous background to the photos and would be very interesting to students.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Frederick C. Kamau on August 16, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Anne Spirn's latest book is really quite outstanding. She combines the clear eye of a superlative photographer (her own) to write in limpid prose about the clear eye and conscience of another (Dorothea Lange's). This is not just a meta-documentary, a documentary of a documentary, it is also an examination of the changes that have been wrought in the United States over the last two to three generations, in the physical landscape, in the socio-economy, and in our moral landscape. Lange represented in her photographs some of the critical ironies in the fabric of America - the high mindedness of the WPA program, the debilitating material poverty of her subjects and equally, a spiritual nobility as revealed in the images and her notes. Lange herself, her photographs and the vast subject matter she made her essay are little known in the new generation. Anne Spirn has done the next generation a great service in tilling this soil anew.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By David C. Lienemann on December 5, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
of the 4 or 5 dorothea lange books I picked up, this one perhaps has the best selection of photography. Lange's field notes combined with the authors interpretations and cheerleading, which are at times worth skipping, none the less offer a better picture of lange's pictures. Definitely worth the money and an interesting enough read, though the pictures were my focus.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By John J. Falkenstine on October 1, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In an age where Cable news channels creative revisionist dream worlds of the past for those with child-like gullibility, this books brings home the truth like a hammer through a window. In the Thirties, the USA was very wealthy but in a great deal of pain as well. Threadbare families wandered the highways, struggling to survive, the direct result of a mismanaged economy. While some partied, others worked for pennies, having lost everything, dressed in rags, and short of food and basic neccessities. The quality of the images is stunning. Lange was not only a technically skilled photographer, she also had the people skills to set up the scenes and make the people in the images display their struggles by simply looking into her camera. For those who say that the depression was not all that bad, shove this book into their face and make them look at the images of worn people, skinny kids, and exhausted cars gasping their last combustion stroke. I don't think there's really a bad image anywhere in this heavy duty book. Print quality is excellent.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. Bunt on April 17, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I've always been drawn to Dorothea Lange's Depression-era photography. No one who ever saw her photo of the sharecropper mother can really forget.
This book has an excellent selection of Lange's work from the depression and after. The author attempts to retrace several of Dorothea Lange's more well known or productive trips for the FSA. The on location shots taken by the author almost 60 years later gave me a perspective on the changes in our landscape. Her description of Lange's evolution from studio based portrait photographer catering to the well off, to on location recorder of the cataclysmic social events going on in the nation during the Depression gave me a new insight about the work Lange produced.

Overall, however, the real heart of this book is the selection of Dorothea Lange's photos and the accompanying caption notes by Lange, as well as the expanded background provided by the author.
The black and white prints are stark, dramatic and so effective at conveying the suffering as well as the incredible endurance of the people Lange photographed.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By The Scone Ranger on September 27, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you are a first-time viewer of Lange's work, or a long-time admirer, this is an excellent work to own, and share with friends. In particular, there is a wealth of anecdotal information for many of her images re the circumstances under which a picture was captured. Lange had a gift for establishing rapport with people in very difficult / desperate circumstances. Poverty does not lend itself to "outsiders" peering into it as a gawker let alone with a camera to record the level of misery. That she was able to consistently obtain such images is a testimony to how passionately she plied her craft.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By From the Coast of Maine on October 11, 2009
Format: Paperback
The photographs and Lange's field notes make for fascinating reading. I cannot, however, say the same for Ann Spirn's commentary, which at times is downright embarrassing i.e., implying that Lange was not Walker Evan's because she was a woman (as wonderful as many of her photographs are, they often do not rise to the level of Evans' nor did she ever produce a book anything like "American Photographs"). Then there's Spirn's notion that photographs should NOT need to stand on their own, which she seems to think is something of an elitist, or misguided artist perspective. The reality is that it is very unusual to have the benefit of a photographer's writings to assist in evaluating his/her art and, more importantly, the best individual photographs don't need words; one of the best examples -- Lange's Migrant Mother! Buy this book for the photographs and Lange's words, and skip the essays!
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search

What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?