In color video, “Photos to Send” sensitively reunites people in Ireland’s verdant County Clare who were first captured on B&W stills in 1954 by renowned U.S. photojournalist Dorothea Lange. Using the photos and notes culled from Oakland Museum’s Lange archive in 1996, tyro documaker Dierdre Lynch retraced Lange’s steps in ’97, and her filmed visit provides a fine new portrait of fading Irish country life. Winner of the top docu prize at Galway fest, pic is assured a strong worldwide fest presence and excellent TV prospects.
Lucky to have Lange’s detailed notes, Lynch finds her way to the front door of farmer Michael Kenneally, and the visual match with the original photos is stunning. Lange’s son, Dan Dixon, explains that his mother was drawn to Ireland for a Life magazine project as a link to her gripping images of ’30s Dustbowl victims. Pic lovingly contemplates Lange’s warm, penetrating portraits of the region’s children. And these grown kids’ memories of Lange and their not-always-happy lives gives this work a complexity beyond photographic adventure.