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Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

4.38  ·  Rating details ·  119 Ratings  ·  25 Reviews
This beautiful volume celebrates one of the twentieth century's most important photographers, Dorothea Lange. Led off by an authoritative biographical essay by Elizabeth Partridge (Lange's goddaughter), the book goes on to showcase Lange's work in over a hundred glorious plates. Dorothea Lange is the only career-spanning monograph of this major photographer's oeuvre in pri ...more
Hardcover, 192 pages
Published November 5th 2013 by Chronicle Books
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--Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning

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Quotation Sources for Photographic Plates
Dec 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I recently saw the American Masters film on the life of Dorothea Lange on PBS, and I knew that I had to read and view (view definitely being the operative word) this companion volume. The book consists of a short biographical essay, followed by many of Lange's most memorable photographs. Her most famous, Migrant Mother is here, of course, but there were others that tell other devastating stories: unemployed men in San Fransisco, Japanese children in internment camps, black sharecroppers in the S ...more
Jan 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: photography
My fave quote and take away: "You can't do people in trouble without photographing people who are not in trouble, too. You have to have those contrasts."
William West
Aug 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is in response to the great exhibit of Lange's work at the Oakland Museum of California, "The Politics of Seeing", composed of a wealth of prints Lange donated to the museum late in life. Lange's images of the urban unemployed during the Depression are, of course, singularly powerful testaments of that age, and they earned her a job working as a New Deal documentary photographer, resulting in her most iconic work: her documentation of the struggles of Dust Bowl migrants.

But her most heroic
Pat Loughery
Jul 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library, photography
Before reading this book, I knew something of Dorothea Lange, but not much. This peek into her social documentary photography was powerful... And watching her grow into her vision and voice was astounding. She's now one of my artistic heroes, and photographic heroes. I will be studying more of her work, as much as I can find.
Jan 20, 2015 rated it liked it
An oversized book with the major works of Lange. A nicely written history in the introduction.
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014, non-fiction
I love Dorothea Lange and this is a wonderful collection of words and images. Probably one that I need to own.
Jan 28, 2015 rated it liked it
I have read the book within my resolution to read more books about art. I love Dorothea Lange’s style a lot, plus I am interested in the Great Depression — bingo! This book presents a short description of her life and work and several dozens of photographs.

Previously I knew nothing about Dorothea Lange; I only always marked for myself how beautiful her pictures are. They are very recognizable and idiosyncratic even now, after so many photographers imitated her style.

What interesting things I lea
Patricia McLaughlin
Sep 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
“To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattainable. I have only touched it, just touched it.” —Dorothea Lange

Touched it, indeed. Partridge’s biography of Lange’s life and work often reads like a college term paper, but the photographs speak for themselves and their creator: iconic images of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of a Zen master “living with the camera.”

Favorite photos include
“Dorothea Lange Working in the MoMA Exhibition”
“Korean Child”
“Camp Near
Juanita De
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of Lange is one of compassion. The polio that struck her when she was seven was, as she said, was the defining event that shaped her life. As she approached the marginal and poverty-stricken to record their lives on film, she found that, " be a crippled an immense advantage...It puts you on a different level than if you go into a situation whole and secure." Her experience of pain and humanity created a huge monument, not a heavy one of rock and cement of the Statue ...more
Jan Weishaar
Mar 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The story of Dorothea Lange's life and her body of creative work is so much more than her well-known photograph of the Migrant Mother. This book chronicles a time in the United States that was not so great for those who were poor and treated unfairly. It is relevant today. The story of Lange's personal life is told, as well as her professional life. Also chronicled here are her thoughts on humanity, as she traveled and photographed people in several countries. The second half of the book is the ...more
Oct 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
Book M13 chose for extra credit. Select quotes:

"I have photographs of the trees that I live with here. The photographs are in different moods. This photograph's dark, and big, and troubled. A lot has gone on here under these trees. The life that goes on under the trees represents things that I love very much: my children, and my children's children."

"One should really use a camera as though tomorrow you'd be stricken blind. To live a visual life is an enormous undertaking, practically unattaina
Terry Kuny
Nov 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: art, photography, e-books
This is a stunning volume. Partridge's text really performs the task of letting Lange speak of her own life and work. It feels like a good balance between life story and art story. The photos are presented well and the captions (something Lange herself was attentive too) refine the photo, placing it into its vital context. The humanity of her work never ceases to come through and Lange is anything but a dispassionate eye of loss and hardship and the casual brutality of economics and politics. La ...more
Aug 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
For the photographer of such iconic images as "Migrant Mother" and "White Angel Breadline," not many people seem to know that for the early part of her career, Dorothea Lange's work also helped affect actual social change for many of her subjects. As a budding artist, Lange worked for a federal social program and reported areas that needed aide. Later in life, Lange was able to focus more on the artistic side of her photography, but she could never escape her inscrutable eye for the human condit ...more
David Ward
Sep 06, 2015 rated it liked it
Dorthea Lange: “Grab a Hunk of Lightning” - Her Lifetime in Photography by Elizabeth Partridge (Chronicle Books 2014) (770.92). Dorthea Lange was a major documentary photographer active in the U.S. during the Depression era years. Her work is highly regarded today. She is best known for her work among the “Okies” and other migrant farmers. This is the first and best retrospective of her work; the book offers more than a hundred plates of her best work from the 1930's. My rating: 7/10, finished 8 ...more
Aug 22, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: art
First of all, I am rating this book by Elizabeth Partridge not Dorothea Lange's images which of course would get a 5. Partridge did a fair job presenting Lange's life, her childhood years were covered a bit chaotically and abruptly, but her adulthood and professional life were well covered. The photographs were as you would expect amazing, but I loved the inclusion of quotes from Lange herself about the images, time, place or her profession. I wish there had been more images of Lange herself as ...more
Krusher Basta
Dec 06, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: photography
I loved this book. In addition to over 100 images of Dorothea Lange’s work, it included a fascinating narrative of her life, both personal and professional, written by her God Daughter. I am just amazed at what she was able to accomplish with the technology available in the early twentieth century. In addition to overcoming all the logistical obstacles (you couldn’t just hop on a jet and be in another part of the world by late afternoon) and her health issues, she did it as a woman at a time whe ...more
Caroline Philippone
Aug 01, 2015 rated it it was amazing
An absolute delightful look into Dorothea Lange's lesser known negatives. I loved reading such a great overview of her work in the essay at the beginning, and I can't wait to read her biography, which is next on my list.

This also accompanies the PBS documentary of the same name, which is additionally next on my viewing list.

Will be diving deeper into her work again, and will be focusing on her for a unit in one of photography classes.
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The biographical information, written by Dorothea Lange's goddaughter and daughter of her long-time assistant, is excellent. The presentation of the photographs is beautiful. Because I prefer the FSA and dust bowl photographs, I would have preferred more of those and fewer of the photographs from Lange's travels later in life, but that is only personal preference.
Patricia Powell
Sep 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What a spectacular book of Dorothea Lange's photos chronicling a large hunk of the 20th century. Author Elizabeth Partridge has a personal connection as her father as a 17 year old was Dorothea's assistant and the families meshed. Loved it.
Jun 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read on Dorothea covering her history. Her photography is simply stunning! Wish there were more pictures in here!
Kyla Hunziger
Mar 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful tribute to an amazing photographer.
Mar 08, 2014 rated it liked it
Extraordinary woman, extraordinary photography.
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“I believe in living with the camera, and not using the camera. Suddenly, if you are working a lot, it takes over and then you see meaning in everything. You don’t have to push for it. That’s what I mean by the visual life. Very rare.”1” 0 likes
“Carefully honed skills enabled her to “see” the photograph with her strong eye for composition, and a heart guided by compassion. Equally” 0 likes
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