Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange by Elizabeth Partridge.
Viking Press/Penguin Group:NY, 1998.

Written by the daughter of Dorothea Lange's apprentice, colleague, and friend, the biography is an account of homelessness and poverty during the Great Depression of the 1930s, the imprisonment of Japanese Americans during World War II, and the San Francisco shipyards during the 1940s. It is also a documentation of the difficulties of trying to have a great, meaningful career and care for a family as well. I have known few people who could do both well-at the same time.

Dorothea Lange was an incredible photographer, but she lived at a time when the mother was expected to be the caregiver. She was torn between her work and her family. In the beginning of her career, most of her time and energy was spent on caretaking. As she became more of a photographer (a field photographer), she pulled away from her family. I believe this is an issue that many women are forced to agonize over.

Dorothea Lange was a smart, strong woman with an amazing life. The documentation is enlightening about subjects that are not covered well in history classes, and I think it is a positive thing for teenagers to learn about the balance of career and family life-instead of waiting until they have babies to figure out what to do. We are not all meant to make the same choices, but it is good to have an idea of what to expect.

Also, most of the pictures were taken by Dorothea Lange herself. Some quite beautiful pictures.

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