Another one in a series of smashing photography exhibitions at the Barbican. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) became a successful portrait photographer in San Francisco before the Great Depression of the 1930s turned her attention towards capturing the tough life of the poor and unemployed in the city streets. Starting in 1935, the US Government's Resettlement Administration (later the Farm Security Administration, FSA) ran its well-known photography programme in order to make the American public aware of the plight of rural workers and families affected, not just by the depression, but by the dust storms and drought (the 'Dust Bowl') that blighted many areas of the central US at the time. The programme hired photographers of the calibre of Lange and Walker Evans whose work became a landmark in the history of documentary photography in the 20th century. The Barbican exhibition presents this and subsequent aspects of Lange's photography including her work on Japanese Americans interned during World War II and her visit to rural Ireland in 1954.
The second part of the exhibition presents the work of contemporary photographer Vanessa Winship (born 1960). Winship's work is compelling and varied but, to my mind, does not quite match the focus and appeal of Lange's.
Definite recommend to anyone with any interest at all in photography. Finishes 2 September.