Funeral Cortege by Dorothea Lange
Every time I look through my Lange book I stop at this shot. The irony is that while she's my favorite photographer, I dislike portrait photography only a little less than candid photography. (I know, it's journalism) That her work subverts my distrust of the medium isn't altogether fantastic. But it does make me wonder about the safe avenues I plod down in my own work. This shot isnt about tonality or sharpness or luminosity or all the things I strive for in my own work, yet it devastates anything I'll ever create. This picture amazes me and yet I know I could never take this picture. The woman is sagging in her own cameo frame, barely propped up by her own clenched hand, possibly the worst day she will ever know. How could I hope to meet this woman's stare? No matter how sympathetic the eye, Lange's work always seems latently confrontational, like simple yet unavoidable physical law.