Dorothea Lange became known in the late 1930s for her realistic images of those who suffered the most under America’s Great Depression. Travelling through California’s deserts on her own, with only her camera as companion and witness, Lange thrived to show the impact this unforeseen crisis had on ordinary Americans, particularly sharecroppers and migrant workers. She never asked her models to pose, but took those compelling images as a silent, non - intrusive spectator. Lange’s images and the uncompromising style in which she captured her subjects’ resignation are today considered to have influenced documentary photography profoundly. While Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1941, the greatest admiration comes from an unlikely source. Fashion designers such as Yohi Yamamoto, Raf Simmons and Jil Sander in the Nineties seem to have taken direct inspiration from Lange’s work.
A prime example is the portrait of ‘ One Eyed Charlie’, taken by Lange in 1939 shows the labour contractor from Louis Obispo County in California wearing a light- weight denim shirt faded through regular wear and tear tucked into a pair of equally worn in denim jeans. While at the time these garments were worn by most working men, they now tell the story of the rise of denim and finding beauty in the telltale signs of a frequently worn garment.
Posted by Felix Bischof