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.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Dorthea Lange’s biography

Dorthea Lange’s photographs

dreaming of spaciousness…

prairie-moon-lisa-lillibridge-dakota-1966

Above is my original painting.  It was in a show at a restaurant that used to be downtown Burlington, Smokejacks.  The light was low so I designed this series to show up in the soft light.  This piece also was also in a show at the Herrick Elevator in South Dakota.

I thought I could stretch the life of this painting by playing with it and layering the moon.  The farmhouse and flora in these images are photographs I shot around Burke, South Dakota.  I guess as the snow falls in Vermont I’m dreaming of a quiet and spacious rural landscape.

lillibridge-dakota-1966-moon-over-prairie-farmhouse

prairie-moon-and-flora-lillibridge-dakota-1966