Refugee crises, immigration, racism, separation and imprisonment of families, migrant farm workers," Johnson said. Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Born in Hoboken, New Jersey in 1895, Lange contracted polio as a young girl and walked with a noticeable limp -- an ordeal that some credit with fostering her fierce determination. May 31, 2004, Conducted by Richard K. Doud / "There are the striking echoes in her work of issues we're reading about in today's headlines. Photography is more accessible, more voluminous, and the visual language is maybe a bit more fluent," he said in an email, referring to the world in which Lange's photos first circulated. After introducing Dorothea Lange as a person, focusing on her childhood and early career as a point of reference with which students may identify, we will use her photography as a springboard for content, reflection, and analysis. Children in families of Japanese ancestry were evacuated with their parents and will be housed for the duration in War Relocation Authority centers where facilities will be provided for them to continue their education." Dorothea Lange—well known for her FSA photographs like Migrant Mother—was hired by the U.S. government to make a photographic record of the “evacuation” and “relocation” of Japanese-Americans in 1942. American Photographer. MEE Photography. December 4, 2006, By Steve Chawkin / Lange's son, Dan Dixon, age 5, 1930, on the cover of 'Day Sleeper, Dorothea Lange-Sam Contis'. Los Angeles Times / She started out her career in photography taking commercial portraits in 1920s San Francisco. Photography. Striking photos capture the world's sustainability crisis. [Internet]. The indescribably poignant expression on Thompson's face stands out from between the bowed heads of her sons, whose presence reveals the nature of her concerns. I am a photographer based in Southern Califorina. She studied photography at Columbia … You have the power to increase his perceptions and conceptions. The books and articles below constitute a bibliography of the sources used in the writing of this page. From. It … One of the most acclaimed documentary photographers of the 20th century, Dorothea Lange helped shape our conception of the interwar years in America, contributing to our knowledge of this period.She is best known for images of the Depression-era America which capture the plight of sharecroppers, displaced farmers and migrant workers in the 1930s. And of all the FSA photographers, I think Lange was the most successful at making images that were factual, but which also packed an emotional wallop," Drew Johnson, the curator of photography and visual culture at the, How 1968 changed America -- for better and worse, Lange might not have been able to effect policy changes at the government level, but her images for the FSA, picked up by newspapers across the country, conveyed the crisis to a wide audience in relatable terms. April 29, 2010, By Julia Baird / Each of us has a different vision, style and a way to look at things. Courtesy of MACK The book’s title comes from a photo Lange made of a … "White Angel Breadline, San Francisco" (1933), "She encouraged empathy and identification with her subjects using techniques such as shooting from a low angle to emphasize a person's strength and dignity, and moving in close to crop out superfluous details," Johnson said. After the Depression she went on to enjoy an illustrious career in photo-journalism during its hey-day, working for leading magazines such as Fortune and Life, and traveling widely throughout Asia, Latin America, and Egypt. November 5, 2009, By Linda Gordon / The solemnity and portrait style of this photograph counteracts the indignity of … Many of Lange's documentary photographs borrow techniques from the lexicon of modernism - dramatic angles and dynamic compositions - to produce startling and often jarring images of her subjects. "Shipyard Worker, Richmond, California" (c.1943), "But the main question remains the same: Where do you stand, and which direction do you point your voice, up or down? These also suggest some accessible resources for further research, especially ones that can be found and purchased via the internet. This will be done in the context of the life and work of photographer Dorothea Lange. And Lange's legacy can be seen everywhere. There, she fell in with the era's bohemian artists and writers, including the painter Maynard Dixon, who she eventually married. We are so thrilled that you landed on our page! At the time, she was working as a photographer for the Resettlement Administration (RA), a Depression-era government agency formed to raise public awareness of and provide aid to struggling farmers. (The author John Steinbeck used them for inspiration in his epic 1939 Dust Bowl tale "The Grapes of Wrath. When the Depression hit, a humanistic call to arms led Lange to the streets, where she famously captured crowded breadlines. “Lange’s gaze…showed more mercy but avoided sentimentality by its emphasis on individual personality and complexity,” scholar Linda Gordon wrote of the photographer’s work in the American South in “Dorothea Lange: A Life Beyond Limits” (2009). Her mission was not just personal: Lange had been hired by the photographic unit of the Farm Security Administration -- a progressive New Deal agency founded to alleviate poverty -- to document the growing migrant crisis. MEE Photography. Newsweek / She saw herself firstly as a journalist and secondly as an artist, and she worked with a burning desire to effect social change by informing the public of suffering far away. ", Edward Burtynsky: 'The technical revolution has turned us into a virus', And in an era when images have a nearly instantaneous and incomparably vast reach, whether coming from professional photojournalists or more amateur talents, the visual has never had so much power to influence public perception. In this picture, Lange is able to capture a striking look of anxiety on the face of her subject. The American photographer Dorothea Lange was a product of Hoboken, NJ (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965). To add to the feeling of claustrophobia, Lange purposely cropped the photograph into a tighter composition, which originally included a woman sitting in the passenger's seat. Lange's Depression-era photos are so tightly woven into the fabric of American culture that, for many of us, our memories of that period are inseparable from the scenes she captured with her camera, from her iconic portrait of maternal demoralization and perseverance, "Migrant Mother" (1936), to her over-farmed fields, ramshackle lean-to tents and dusty jalopies. She had just sold the tyres from her car to buy food. When Dorothea Lange found out that her famous photograph, “Migrant Mother”—the iconic image of one exhausted woman and three kids living in misery, which has come to visually represent the Great Depression—hadn’t yet been included in her upcoming career retrospective at MoMA, she simply said: “It’d be alright with me to leave her out.” Take, for instance, John Moore's photos of border patrol agents and immigrant families, Lynsey Addario's portraits of Syrian and Iraqi refugees, or viral images documenting the escalating tensions between law enforcement and black communities by such photographers as, "Centerville, California. Stranded in his car, the man's plight suggests the larger problems that society faced during the Great Depression. ", "Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still. But I don't feel that I personally stand for anything so great, you know. She pioneered a use of the camera as a powerful catalyst for social change, and in an era erupting with humanitarian conflict, her legacy resonates. Her use of innovative techniques also proved that modernist art need not only convey the private feelings of the artist, but could also be put in the services of popular journalism. ©2021 The Art Story Foundation. Drawn to the lines of people waiting for worker's compensation or food relief, the image of this elderly man waiting for food at the soup kitchen embodies the depressed mood of the times. ", "I feel myself more like a cipher, a person that can be used for lots of things and I like that. She had also come of age during the modernist transformation of photography into an art form, and turned her lens on America's social ills with an aesthetically gripping style that captured the country's imagination. But, compassion is not to be the only word used to describe her, her photography and her… Meanwhile, much of the country, mired in its own Depression-fueled misery, was oblivious to the ecological and social catastrophe at hand. Part One: Dorothea Lange’s Social Vision: Photography and the Great Depression by Emily Yoshiwara. She is remembered above all for revealing the plight of sharecroppers, displaced farmers and migrant workers in the 1930s, and her portrait of Florence Owens Thompson, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California(1936), has become an icon of the period. ", "It is not enough to photograph the obviously picturesque. The brutally reductive photo-editing style of LIFE and the magazine’s right-of-center politics tamped down the progressive political slant of Lange’s photography. They never overpower the subjects themselves, but instead subtly direct the viewer to a fresh appreciation of the individual's plight. Dorothea Lange grew up in a middle-class family in New Jersey. art type. Dorothea Lange, American documentary photographer whose portraits of displaced farmers during the Great Depression greatly influenced later documentary and journalistic photography. May 22, 1964. Born: May 26, 1895 - Hoboken, New Jersey . '", "Migratory Cotton Picker, Eloy, Arizona" (1940). 16" x 12", Multiple Sizes. ", "The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera. ". Probably the most famous of Lange's photographs, the description she wrote of her encounter with Florence Owens Thompson reveals that it left a deep impression on her. I am also available for destination weddings/elopements. Her best-known image is Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936). Lange's mature work proved that works of art and documents are not mutually exclusive, and that they can combine to produce beautiful, moving, and campaigning images. Evacuees of Japanese ancestry will be housed in War." One of Lange's better-known photographs, she often cited this particular scene when speaking about her breakthrough into documentary photography. She told me her age, that she was 32. Photographer Dorothea Lange's work became famous during the Depression and after, symbolizing the human suffering and rural poverty of the era and pioneering a style known as "social documentary photography. Since much of this work was carried out for a government body, the Farm Security Administration, it has been an unusual test case of American art being commissioned explicitly to drive government policy. MEE Photography. Her second marriage, to the agricultural economist Paul Taylor, helped get her out into the fields with the destitute pickers, who she'd treat like portrait subjects. "As Lange's boss at the FSA, Roy Stryker, said, 'We introduced Americans to America. 1895-1965 Inductee Sponsor: Patsy Hodge About “Compassion” litters the pages of text written about Dorothea Lange, whether outright spoken, or just insinuated. The photographer captured some of the most enduring images of the Great Depression. "I did not ask her name or her history. Toronto Fine Art Photographer, specializing in Maternity photography, Newborn photography, Family portraits and Weddings. Rather than suggesting he pose, Lange has caught him as if unawares, an effect which persuades us all the more of the truth of the image. Lange's photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. For Day Sleeper, the American photographer Sam Contis was granted access to the extensive Dorothea Lange archive at the Oakland Museum of California. You asked me about deciding to be a photographer, but over everything, I think, all my decisions right along, even working in the field when I was doing documentary work, have been instinctive; and I trust my instincts. For more about the early inventions and new processes upon which Lange's camera art was based, see: the History of Photography (c.1800-1900). All Rights Reserved |, Restless Spirit: The Life and Work of Dorothea Lange, An American Exodus: A Record of Human Erosion, Daring to Look: Dorothea Lange's Photographs and Reports from the Field, Internment Without Charges: Dorothea Lange and the Censored Images of Japanese American Internment, The Getty Center: Dorothea Lange's Documentary Photographs, Dorothea Lange: Drawing Beauty Out of Desolation, Dorothea Lange on White Angel Bread Line, SF MoMA, Oral history interview with Dorothea Lange, Ditched, Stalled and Stranded, San Joaquin Valley, California (1936), Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936). Learn more about Lange’s life and career. Dorothea Lange Her style is Documentary Photography Techniques applied were lexicon of modernisms – dramatic angles and dynamic compositions Her works influenced the development of documentary photography Her work usually are portraits of displaced farmers during the Great Depression Her photographs also humanized the consequences of the Great Depression Other works … Dorothea Lange's images of Depression-era America made her one of the most acclaimed documentary photographers of the 20 th century. ", Courtesy Courtesy The Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California, Courtesy The Dorothea Lange Collection, Oakland Museum of California, forced relocation and internment of Japanese-Americans. Dorothea's photographic approach is characterized by an uncompromising empathy that derives from intimate portraits. The compassion Dorothea Lange had and showed in her photography was rooted in her childhood experiences. Dorothea Lange's images of Depression-era America made her one of the most acclaimed documentary photographers of the 20th century. "I honestly cannot think of a photographer who has had a more powerful legacy of inspiring younger generations of socially motivated photographers," says Johnson. "Most of all, she spent time with people, establishing rapport and getting their story, often before even taking out her camera. Both parents were proponents of education and culture, and exposed both Dorothea and her brother Martin to literature and the creative arts. Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still – Dorothea Lange. Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) Contents • Dorothea Lange's Photography • Biography • Exhibitions • Other Famous Photographers. Lessons Dorothea Lange Has Taught Me About Street Photography. The original negatives are 4x5" film. I knew that I had recorded the essence of my assignment." (1942). 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