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Dorothea Lange

Under the Influence of Dorothea Lange

Introduction

The intersection of art and photojournalism is a glorious destination. Where the observer straddles the line between creator and reporter. Equal parts artist and journalist. As street photographers, we share a common skill that resides in that intersection. The skill is that of observation. To snatch away that moment from time, we must keenly observe. Observe like a photojournalist. Like we’re covering a story. But the skill of observation is also what gives us the media to “paint” our picture. Observing and the camera is our paint and canvas. Being able to really “see” is the first step in capturing a great image. Great observation skills, whether you’re a “natural” or someone who’s acquired them, sharpen with experience and tell us not only how to see the image before we take it, but tell us when and where we should take it. It becomes part of the process. How long to wait. Move or stay still. It all becomes instinct through observation. That being said, to be a good street photographer, we must be, to some degree, good social observers. And in the twentieth century, there was no better social observer than Dorothea Lange.