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Dorothea Lange – at MAAC and at MoMA

1939 Wagon: Cover of An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion | DOROTHEA LANGE, PAUL TAYLOR | First edition

At the Manhattan Rare Book Company you’ll find, “An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion” by Dorothea Lange and Paul Taylor. ( Contact: 212.326.8907 | )

It’s a first edition of one of the most important American photobooks.

Lange’s photographs:

“acknowledge the complexity of the subject, avoid the sentimental, and are informed by the cultural conditions of the time and place in which they were made. She developed the documentary form of photography into a medium of vital visual information and great aesthetic significance.”—American National Biography

An American Exodus” is especially significant because all the components of a stellar photobook are present:

“A collection of great single photographs does not necessarily make a great photographic book. The latter is, at its core, a work that is conscious not only of the art of photography, but the art of the book.. Every aspect of the publication — design, text, and photographic content — must form a coherent (or purposefully disjunctive) narrative; and it must break with or at least transcend tradition as it engages the contemporary world.

“One example that fits the above criteria is Dorothea Lange and Paul Schuster Taylor’s An American Exodus (1939). … the book leads us, chapter by chapter, on a passage through time and place and the human condition in America of the 1930s. To read An American Exodus is to experience much more than a container of superb photographs” (May Castleberry, “The Presence of the Past”, in The Book of 101 Books). The Photobook. Roth 101

If you love Lange, or are simply interested in exploring more about her work, there’s a Lange exhibit at MoMA. While presently the Museum can’t be open, MoMA offers a number of resources virtually.

Including Sarah Meister, one of the exhibit’s curators, speaking about Lange’s photographs:

As well as:

We are open our regular hours and observe social distancing guidelines
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