Capturing the Home Front by Dorothea Lange

A new exhibition now open at the Australian National Maritime Museum reveals some of iconic moments of World War II as captured by renowned photographer, Dorothea Lange.

Capturing the Home Front is open now until 16 February 2020, and features work by Lange, on loan from the Museum of Contemporary Photography in Chicago, and photographs by Toyo Miyatake, a Japanese American internee and professional photographer from Los Angeles who smuggled a lens into Manzanar (one of ten American concentration camps, where more than 120,000 Japanese Americans were incarcerated during World War II from December 1942 to 1945) and built a camera to capture camp life.

© Dorothea Lange
© Dorothea Lange

Considered an icon of documentary photography, Dorothea Lange established her reputation as a documentarian when she was commissioned by the American government to capture and reveal the devastation wrought on Americans by The Great Depression.

© Dorothea Lange
© Dorothea Lange

During Word War II, Lange was commissioned by the US Office of War Information to photograph America’s factories, shipyards, and farms as the nation went to war. Her unvarnished depictions of the forced internment of Japanese Americans from coastal California to inland camps in 1942 were considered too realistic and raw for public consumption, and Ansel Adams was commissioned to document the desolate camp at Manzanar in a better light.

© Dorothea Lange
© Dorothea Lange

Complementing the American content are reproductions from Australian collections of the evocative work of Sam Hood, William Cranstone, Jim Fitzpatrick, and Hedley Cullen who documented wartime industry, Japanese internment, family and country life on our side of the Pacific.

© Dorothea Lange
© Dorothea Lange
 

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