Yesterday was the birthday of remarkable photographer Dorothea Lange. Born in 1895, she entered a profession with very few women, and excelled at it. Just look at her! She is rocking the whole artist thang.
The crash of the stock market in 1929 propelled her into a whole new area of photography, and she documented the hard pressed, the down and out, the tossed aside. Beautiful images of a people in trouble. Though heartbreaking, I can only image the sense of purpose Ms. Lange experienced in her work. The joy of doing the work you were meant to do. Mastering the photographic process, in the field.
I'm still reading Sally Mann's memoir, Hold Still. She worked on a project in the south, traveling around in her station wagon, highly explosive photo chemicals sloshing around in their bottles in the rear of the car. A woman alone. Intrepid. Doing her work. A white woman, photographing black men in the south, exploring the pain and terror of slavery and the legacy of the southern slave trade.
If you love good books, I highly recommend hers. You don't need to be a visual artist to appreciate it. She writes exquisitely.
As we enter this Memorial Day weekend, I think about all the men and women who have died in war, across our nation. This holiday isn't about shopping or 40 percent off sales. It's about reflection. It's about respect and honor. No matter the stupid or righteous reasons for their deaths, they died. Often horribly. We owe them.