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Edwin Land (1909–1991). Land invented, and began selling, the Polaroid camera in 1948. Producing pictures within minutes, the in-camera development was hugely successful until the immediacy of digital superseded it.

Dorothea Lange (1895–1965). Lange’s 1936 Migrant Mother is one of the most widely recognized and reproduced images in American photography. She studied photography at Columbia University and then opened a portrait studio in San Francisco (about 1919). Amid economic turmoil and the Dust Bowl disaster, she began documenting the plight of migrants. Hired by Roy Stryker for a Farm Security Administration project, she traveled extensively photographing migrants, farmers, and sharecroppers, both white and black. During World War II, she photographed Japanese Americans interned at Manzanar, California.

Clarence John Laughlin (1905–1985). Southern born, Laughlin worked in fashion photography before returning to New Orleans, where he began making fictional images that demonstrated his interest in surrealism, allegory, and Gothic literature. His book, Ghosts Along the Mississippi, was published in 1948.

Sherrie Levine (b. 1947). Best known as an ingenious appropriator of Walker Evans’s photographs in her 1980 exhibition, “After Walker Evans.” She also appropriated Van Gogh, Leger, and Duchamp. She had a retrospective at the Whitney Museum in 2011: Sherrie Levine: Mayhem.

Helen Levitt (1913–2009). Street photographer who deftly captured the vitality of children’s live in the poorer neighborhoods of New York. Shot with a 35-mm Leica, sometimes equipped with a winkelsucher device that allowed her to look one direction while photographing in another for more candid imagery. She first exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art in New York in 1943. Levitt collaborated on projects with James Agee, including the film In The Street (1952) and the book A Way Of Seeing (1965).

Glenn Ligon (b. 1960). Bronx-born painter and conceptual artist, whose exhibition, Notes on the Margin of the Black Book (1991–1993), was a critique of the famous Robert Mapplethorpe photographs of gay black men and on the discourse of race and sexuality that was central to the Culture Wars of the time.

Danny Lyon (b. 1942) Noted photographer of the civil rights movement, and first staff photographer of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Lyon spent several years documenting a biker gang (The Bikeriders, 1967) and subsequent other projects including Texas prison inmates and urban renewal programs. Publications include Like a Thief's Dream (2007), Memories of Myself (2009), and Deep Sea Diver (2011).

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