Dorothea Lange Essay Migrant Mother

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According to an essay by photographer, Martha Rosler, the photo became the most reproduced photograph in the world.

After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she gave up the prestigious fellowship to record the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans from the West Coast on assignment for the War Relocation Authority (WRA).

Dorothea Lange’s 1936 portrait of Florence Owens Thompson and her daughters is so well-known that finding anything new to say about it seems futile. Her sense of commitment and her ability to distill very important and complex arguments into imagery that made those arguments seem absolutely impossible to ignore.

Yet as with the Mona Lisa — to which the “Migrant Mother” photo has been compared — the image retains an air of mystery. It feels particularly timely.”Because the photograph was made while Ms.

I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed.

Dorothea Lange Essay Migrant Mother

I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food.

There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. After Lange returned home, she told the editor of a San Francisco newspaper about conditions at the camp and provided him with two of her photographs.

The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included the images.

But “Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother,” a new book from the Museum of Modern Art, offers fresh insights as it weaves a compelling tale about some little-explored details. Lange was working for the federal Farm Security Administration, the photo is available to everyone, and it has been used in many ways, including as a postage stamp, a 1,000-piece puzzle and on trinkets, T-shirts, posters and postcards. Thompson wrote to the editor of the Modesto Bee newspaper explaining that she was the woman in the photo — and that she felt exploited because she was never compensated for the image. Unlike with most of her other assignments, there are no known field notes from Ms.

Written by Sarah Meister, a photography curator at Mo MA, the book comes out at a time when faces of desperately poor people in migrant caravans dominate the news.“I thought, could there possibly be anything new to say about this picture? Part of why so many people related to the image was, perhaps, the anonymity of this family, which could have been any of millions of Americans suffering through the Great Depression, Ms. A subsequent Associated Press article in The Los Angeles Times revealed that Ms. Lange about this shoot in Nipomo, Calif., and the captions in the Library of Congress are, Ms. Thompson’s relatives have insisted, for example, that they did not sell their tent for food as the captions declared.


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