I wish I had done a little research before tackling this book because the author worked primarily off information concerning the times surrounding Ms. Lange's life and not personal data. Personal notes and records from Ms. Lange were basically unavailable...she kept very little...she destroyed most - even photos; so I felt the book did not have a real 'personal' feel. I was hoping to get inside Lange's head and find out what was behind the making of some of her photos. Except for the chapter on Migrant Mother, the author never really takes you there. And, if she did and I missed it, it was because I was wading through tons of information about the era's political scene.
A victim of polio as a child, Lange barrels through life head-first, feeding her passion for photography initially through portraits and then through documentary pieces while employed by the government. Her physical limitation didn't stop her nor did the fact that she was a woman in what was considered primarily a man's world. While she traveled and worked, she often 'fostered' her children out and they suffered for it. I took great exception to this even though it was a common practice at the time. Today DYFS would be knocking on your door (I would hope). Her health took a back seat to her passion and to her devotion to her second husband and she died shortly before her long-awaited exhibit opened at MoMA.
|I'm a notorious Post-It user.|
Note to self: Buy stock in Post-It Notes.
So, Dorothea Lange lived beyond the limits of her life...very little, if anything, stopped her from pursuing her passion for photography. As I read the last paragraph, I asked myself if I could do it...could I pursue a passion and not allow the integral parts of my life to interfere...not allow family, friends, health to hold me back? Could you?
I believe we all have limits. I certainly do...and they change from day to day, month to month, year to year. Some are obvious and some are not. So, what do you do? Do you grab those moments when the limits are at bay, when you can push them aside for a while, when you have the freedom to pursue your passion? Or, do you work through and around those limits, like Dorothea Lange, to pursue your passion - at any price? Either way you cut it, it's a tough trick.