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<p>Dorothea Lange, Grandfather and grandson of Japanese ancestry at a War Relocation Authority center, Manzanar, California, July 1942

Dorothea Lange, Grandfather and grandson of Japanese ancestry at a War Relocation Authority center, Manzanar, California, July 1942, gelatin silver print, Gift of Daniel Greenberg and Susan Steinhauser, 2016.191.126

Experimental Documentary Now: Carolyn Drake and Susan Meiselas

Arnold Newman Lecture Series on Photography

  • Sunday, January 28, 2024
  • 12:00 p.m. – 1:00 p.m.
  • East Building Auditorium
  • Talks
  • In-person
  • Registration Required

In conjunction with Dorothea Lange: Seeing People, join us for a conversation with award-winning artists Carolyn Drake and Susan Meiselas, moderated by Philip Brookman, the National Gallery's consulting curator in the department of photographs. During her long, prolific, and groundbreaking career, the American photographer Dorothea Lange made some of the most iconic portraits of the 20th century. Drake and Meiselas will discuss Lange’s work and connections with their own social documentary and portrait photography practice.  

This event is part of the Arnold Newman Lecture Series on Photography.

About the Presenters

Carolyn Drake, photo by Andres Gonzalez.

Carolyn Drake works on long-term, photo-based projects seeking to interrogate dominant historical narratives and create alternative and imaginative interpretations of reality. Her work explores community and the interactions within it, as well as the barriers and connections “between people, between places and between ways of perceiving.” Drake was born in California and studied media/culture and history in the early 1990s at Brown University. In 1994, Drake moved to New York and worked as an interactive concept designer for many years before departing to engage with the physical world through photography. Drake lived for nearly a decade in Istanbul, where she developed personal projects and worked on commissions in Turkey, Ukraine, Central Asia, and China. She was drawn to working in communities whose identities resist domination, where there is a drive to self-define. Drake returned to the United States in 2014 and is now based in Vallejo, California, making work that playfully upends perceptions of gender, community, and safety in two American communities. Drake is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, Lange-Taylor Prize, Light Work residency, and Fulbright Fellowship, among other honors.

Susan Meiselas, photo by Meryl Levin.

Susan Meiselas received her BA from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA in visual education from Harvard University. She is best known for her coverage of the insurrection in Nicaragua and her documentation of human rights issues in Latin America, which were published widely throughout the world. In 1981, Pantheon published her second monograph, Nicaragua: June 1978–July 1979, which was reprinted by Aperture (2008). Meiselas has had solo exhibitions in Paris, Madrid, Amsterdam, London, Los Angeles, Chicago, and New York. Honorary awards of recognition include: the Robert Capa Gold Medal for “outstanding courage and reporting” by the Overseas Press Club for her work in Nicaragua (1979); the Leica Award for Excellence (1982); the Engelhard Award from the Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston (1985); the Maria Moors Cabot Prize from Columbia University for her coverage of Latin America (1994); the Hasselblad Foundation Photography prize (1994); and most recently, the Cornell Capa Infinity Award (2005). In 1992, Meiselas was named a MacArthur "Genius" Fellow.