Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures

Dorothea Lange. On the Road to Los Angeles, California. 1937 227

Gelatin silver print, 8 1/16 × 7 3/4" (20.4 × 19.7 cm). Gift of the Farm Security Administration

Poet, Tess Taylor: I'm Tess Taylor. I'm a poet and writer. This is a photograph called On the Road to Los Angeles, California, March, 1937.
What I love about this image is it really demonstrates Lange's ability to capture a paradox. “NEXT TIME, TRY THE TRAIN.” Her images are able to convey so much and, and often they cut against each other. They're about suffering and dignity, or they’re about the story we wish were true and the story that really is true.

In my poetry, I wove my own travels to the places Dorothea Lange went. So I just wanna read a little fragment called “Note to Self.” And all of these are notes that Dorothea Lange made as she was traveling in the 1930s or 40s.

Note to self, possible title: To Hold This Soil.
Note to self, general theme of book, people left stranded by the outwash of industry in America.
Note to self, US 99 the splendor and the rest of it.
Note, young trees.
Note, Poor Man's Canyon, A subject on the move.
Note to self, really do the work. Follow the whole travel. Destination unknown.
One, the method.
Two, this still blank.
A book on the conditions of us.

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