The Inspiration of Dorthea Lange

Last week I had the pleasure of watching the American Masters documentary on PBS about one of my heroes, Great Depression photographer Dorthea Lange.  Her work has greatly influenced my abandoned farmhouse hunting and photography whenever I visit my family in South Dakota.  Dorthea’s compassion and unyielding desire to tell the tragic and heroic stories of our nation’s poor, interned and displaced through photography woke our nation up.  Dorthea’s images prompted more action than print alone could possibly ever have conveyed.

I’ve always found great beauty among the ruins in all forms.  Things that are new just don’t give me much creative juice.  I like to see everything worn out, faded, distressed and destroyed.  To me there’s always a lot more stories among the ruins.

“It is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque.”

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“Pick a theme and work it to exhaustion… the subject must be something you truly love or truly hate.”

—Dorthea Lange

You can watch the American Masters documentary online or look on demand from your local listings.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/dorothea-lange-full-episode/3260/

These images I shot with my niece south of Burke, South Dakota in January.  I’m guessing someone will recognize the house, my sincere apologies for trespassing.  The pull to see what was inside was just too much for us to resist.

There are links to Dorthea’s biography and images if you scroll down.

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Dorthea Lange’s biography

Dorthea Lange’s photographs

Amsterdam/graffiti

Graffiti never fails to inspire me artistically.  I’m now thinking about the empty walls of my garage…so many possibilities.

Amsterdam/design

I took this photograph in the oldest church in Amsterdam. This room truly made me swoon.  I might use this image as the place I go to in my head when the world’s just too much.

This church is in the red-light district—it was founded in 1213 and consecrated in 1306.  After the Reformation it became a Calvinist church.  Here’s a link with more information.

http://www.amsterdam.info/oude-kerk/

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These globes and the plants were in the street front windows of an apartment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis photo is musician Elliot Smith.  This image was on a storage kiosk.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAnother kiosk image of John and Yoko during the Bed-In for Peace.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is an entryway, the subtle lavender curtains were just so pretty.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThere are awnings, outdoor lights and heaters everywhere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese books were beside each other I just thought it was funny. Pretty sure these girls don’t care in the least about mid-century design.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a crosswalk on a high end shopping street.

when worlds collide/part II

sd farmhouse colliding with italy lillibridge sd farmhouse dog days burke south dakota

1. A side street in Florence, Italy

2. Dog Days Celebration, Burke, South Dakota 2014

Heidelberg Project/Detroit

Heidelberg History (from the website)

“In 1986, artist Tyree Guyton returned to Heidelberg, the street where he grew up on Detroit’s East Side, and found it in shambles, riddled with drugs and deepening poverty. Bruised by the loss of three brothers to the streets, Guyton was encouraged by his grandfather to pick up a paintbrush instead of a weapon and look for a solution.”

It’s understandable that everyone would have a very different reaction to seeing this ever-changing installation. It’s a passionate artist’s answer to the the streets, the poverty and the violence.  ART CAN BE A GAME CHANGER. I was amused, saddened, awakened, sickened, inspired and so much more during the time I wandered around.  That’s what art is all about to me. You can’t help but be moved by the spirit and mission of the Heidelberg Project.  It had a profound impact on me. I’m uncertain how to explain it exactly.  You will just have to see it for yourself on Detroit’s East Side. Thank you Tyree Guyton.

Frequent Questions

http://www.heidelberg.org/who_we_are/frequent_questions.html

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The Heidelberg Project Detroit by Lisa Lillibridge

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MISSION + VISION: The Heidelberg Project (“HP”) is a Detroit-based community organization designed to improve the lives of people and neighborhoods through art. Our mission is to inspire people to appreciate and use artistic expression to enrich their lives and to improve the social and economic health of their greater community.

http://www.heidelberg.org/

color inspiration. i need to paint some rooms.

color study lillibridge dakota 1966farmhouse color study march twenty third lillibridgebeach color study lillibridge dakota 1966

Your own photographs are a treasure trove of images for color inspiration.  Often it’s subject matter you’re drawn to (like my daughter Lucy’s hair flying) but often it’s color.  The way the colors are perceived next to each other, the saturation & depth can create unexpected combinations that work beautifully in a lot of different applications—interior design, fashion, make-up and graphic design. I wanted to show how full saturation of the colors can look pretty intense—however, move a few steps up the color sample and unlikely colors can really work together.  I had my living room painted a few years ago and it was sooooo wrong—it made me sick to my stomach.  Often with color it’s a process of elimination which is a pain, but when we get it right.  We know it’s right.

before & after

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I am working on a new series and my muses are: flea market discoveries, mid-century palettes/patterns and old carnival signs.  I am trying to keep my interpretation very loose and original.  It’s so damn hard to be original.  I plan to give it my best shot this week. I’ll post as I get pieces done and I promise to show my mistakes too. Wish me luck.