Dorothea Lange’s photography equipment

Dorothea Lange’s Equipment

Dorothea Lange’s Photography Equipment.

In an interview by Suzanne B. Riess, Dorothea Lange is asked what equipment she uses.  As I suspected anyway, she was using larger format film cameras, but I, so far, have not discovered what particular brands she was using.  I don’t really think it mattered – just look at Lange’s photographs.

Lange brought a wonderful perspective and eye to the photographic arts.  She, I’m sure, could have caught wonderful photographs using brand x, y or z.  This same fact holds true today.  If you have a good eye, and fine technical skill, then you can make good and interesting photographs using whatever equipment you grab.

The following excerpt is from Riess’s interview with Lange:

Riess:  Do you think there is a point to questioning you about cameras and filters and lights and papers and technical subjects?
Lange:  There must be some reason for the question because you get
it all the time.  I myself, when I meet a photographer, have some curiosity about what equipment he would use by preference. That isn’t to say that he uses that camera always, because there are other reasons for using small cameras or using only big cameras.  I find that my mind runs to about three different types of instrument and if I can go equipped to work—if it’s practical–! would take three basic cameras. I’m not a one-camera person.  And those three would be a view camera, a 4×5; if I could manage it, I would make it an 8×10.  [End of Interview Session]

[The making of a documentary photographer : oral history transcript / and related material, 1960-1968]

There are certain statements made by famous photographers that still hold true today, and here is one of those statements about making good photographs.  Obviously, it isn’t so much about the brand of equipment you use, BUT HOW YOU USE IT, that matters:

Robert Capa once said, “If your pictures aren’t good enough, you’re not close enough.”

All you need to do is look at the photographs at Contact Press and you will see that these images are up-close and personal (in most cases, the photographers being close to the scenes using wider lenses) – and these images have a lot of dynamic and emotional impact!