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Dorothea Lange’s Ireland
Text by Gerry Mullins, essay by Daniel Dixon
Published by Arum Press, 1996

In 1954 Dorothea Lange, one of the world’s most famous photographers, spent over a month in Ireland, mostly in County Clare, and took 2,400 photographs. She was drawn to Clare having read The Irish Countryman by Conrad Arensberg which described the social and economic traditions in Clare at that time. Lange wanted to travel to Ireland to photograph the kinds of scenes and people that Arensberg had described.

This book of over 100 black-and-white photographs depicting the people and customs of Irish country life is the result of Lange’s trip. Accompanied by her son, Daniel Dixon, who wrote the narrative to the photographs, Lange took her camera to the countryside to photograph the lives of ordinary people in their homes, working on farms, going to school, attending marts and hurling matches and going to church.

Best known for her iconic photographs of struggling migrant workers during the Great Depression in the USA, Lange work captured the very essence of her subjects. “We only have one universal language” Dorothea Lange stated, “and that’s the human face. Look at the next strange face you see and behind those eyes there is a whole life”. Lange’s book is a fascinating archive of life in County Clare and throughout rural Ireland in the 1950s.
In Dorothea Lange’s Ireland a picture really is worth a thousand words.

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