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OMCA Photography Series Launches with Exhibition Showcasing Intimate Views of Living and Working in California’s Central Valley

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This July, the Oakland Museum of California will open Ken and Melanie Light: Valley of Shadows and Dreams, an exhibition of photographs and written word exploring the harsh truths of the daily experiences of farm workers and their families in California’s Central Valley. On view in OMCA’s Gallery of California Art, July 28 through December 30, 2012, the exhibition is the first of a three-part series exploring contemporary topics in California through photography.

Featuring 31 black-and-white photographs-on view for the first time in a museum-the exhibition explores major threads in California history and the global issues of our generation: water, land use, immigration and farm labor and growing economic disparity. A photographic exploration of a region known for its agricultural plenty and the marginalization of its people-Ken and Melanie Light: Valley of Shadows and Dreams delves deep into the reality of farm workers’ daily experiences and investigates the legacies of politics, bureaucracy, and control in the region. In the tradition of great partnerships such as the iconic photographer Dorothea Lange and agricultural economist Paul Taylor, the Lights reveal both the beauty and the callous truths of this important agricultural region in California through photographs and writing.