A Different Side to Dorothea Lange
A lyrical new book by the photographer Sam Contis collects lesser-known images from the great documentarian’s archive.
Many of the black-and-white images in the new book “Day Sleeper,” by the photographer Sam Contis, look similar to Contis’s own: arid landscapes etched with fencing, cropped views of work-roughened hands, and unstaged, sunlit portraits. For her 2017 volume “Deep Springs,” for instance, Contis focussed on the liberal-arts junior college of the same name, in California—it’s also a functioning desert-valley ranch—to reflect on the mythos of the American West. But, for this project, Contis was not the searching photographer but the instigator, excavator, and editor. None other than Dorothea Lange took the pictures.