Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures

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Dorothea Lange. Terrified Horse, Napa County, California. 1956

Gelatin silver print, printed c. 1958, 6 7/8 × 9 5/8" (17.5 × 24.5 cm). Purchase

Filmmaker, Dyanna Taylor: In the 50s, Dorothea took it upon herself to document a beautiful valley in Northern California, that was going to be flooded. Her interest was in the life of that valley.

What we see behind the horse is the wasteland which once was the beautiful valley and town of Monticello. You no longer see the fence, the field, the orchard, the ivy-covered homes, the ranch hands, women talking on doorsteps, the County store, you don't see any of that anymore - you just see what's left, which is the horse, running, with no place to go.

Dorothea was an early environmentalist. And the assignment, which became a small book called Death of a Valley, documented the painful, painful razing of an entire way of life. And the sadness with which the people had to leave their homes and a place they'd lived for decades.