PBS documentary looks at the life of iconic photographer Dorothea Lange

“I challenged myself I would go down there just to see if I could grab a hunk of lightning.” - Dorothea Lange

August 29, 2014 /Photography News/ Iconic photographer Dorothea Lange is the subject of a new documentary  - Dorthea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning - that will premiere August 29 at 9-11 p.m. on Rocky Mountain PBS.

The personal documentary directed by Lange's granddaughter Dyanna Taylor uses family journals, photos and film footage, interviews and vérité sequences of Lange at her Bay Area home studio, circa 1962-1965, to convey a full picture of the photographer and her approach to art as a philosophy of life.

Lange's 1936, Migrant Mother
The film also examines how some of her best-known photographs came about, among them “Migrant Mother,” an image so widely reproduced and imitated that Lange says of it in a film clip: “It doesn’t belong to me anymore. It belongs to the world.”

Taylor hopes the documentary will increase appreciation of her grandmother, who she believes has been unfairly pigeonholed as a Depression-era photographer.  It is not generally known, she said, that Lange was a committed environmentalist in the 1950’s and 1960’s–before it was fashionable–working on a series of photographs on the Berryessa Valley in Napa County, Calif., which was flooded when a dam was built there in the mid-1950’s.  Lange’s photographs documented a year and a half in the lives of people living there—some for generations—before the dam was built.

Noting that this series has had an impact on her “to this day,” Taylor said Lange “showed America to Americans and that’s still relevant today.”

Dyanna Taylor is a five-time Emmy award winning Cinematographer and Director of Photography whose prominent career in documentaries and features has also earned her a Peabody Award and the honored Muse Lifetime Achievement Award for Outstanding Vision and Achievement in Cinematography from New York Women in Film and Television.

Watch the trailer:


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