Thursday, July 1, 2010

Dorothea Lange [Historical Photographer]

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) had a similar vision to Walker Evans in that she documented a lot of the Great Depression. She was employed by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) after they saw her photographs of the homeless and the unemployed. Lange has a rough childhood with her father's abandonment when she was 12 and a victim of Polio at 7. She knew what suffering was. This might have helped her to sympathize with the migrant workers in the Great Depression. Probably her most famous photograph shows suffering.

Migrant Mother, 1936
Unlike some of the more common photographs from the Great Depression, this one does not include any American streets or scenery. All it is is three people, a mother and her two children. The emotion captured on the mother's face shows her worry and suffering. The children's faces are hidden in their mother's shoulders. She is all they have. They are obviously tired and hungry. Lange wasn't afraid to get involved with people. She took photographs for reasons other than the advancement of her career. These Great Depression photos were distributed for free in newspapers around the country in order to raise awareness. She also documented the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to relocation camps. Here is a picture of some of those children pledging allegiance to the American flag before the internment.

A good question for me to think about is how can I use my artwork to help others?

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