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American Documentary

Dorothea Lange (American, 1895–1965), White Angel Breadline, 1932, printed later, gelatin silver print, anonymous gift in honor of Thomas W. Southall, 1998.110.

The immediacy and accuracy of photography make it an ideal medium to tell stories about the world and deliver information to a broad public. Beyond simply bearing witness to social ills, political dissonance, or environmental tragedy, many photographers throughout the twentieth century used their cameras to inform their audiences and advocate for social change. Such photographs were distributed in newspapers, magazines, and books to reach a wide audience. The High’s collection is particularly strong in American documentary photography and includes work by Lewis Hine, Berenice Abbott, Walker Evans, Bruce Davidson, Diane Arbus, Susan Meiselas, Paul DAmato, and Mary Ellen Mark.