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Early Modern

I looked forward to this week’s post, since I was finally able to choose a photographer to write about. Photography is my favorite type of art.

I chose one of Dorothea Lange’s pictures: Migrant Mother. It was taken in February of
March 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was on a month long trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. Dorothea Lange took the series of photographs of Florence Owens Thomson using a Graflex camera.
Lange gave this statement to the experience: ” I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. 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. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).”

The woman on the picture was the mother of 7 and she struggled to survive with her kids catching birds and picking fruits. Dorothea Lange took the picture after Florence sold her tent to buy food for her children. She made the first page of major newspapers all over the country and changed people’s conception about migrants.
This picture resembles for me the desperation during the Great Depression. One can see on Florences face how worried she was about the future of her children. It must have been a horrible feeling not to know and not to be able to feed her kids. One of the websites I was looking at said: “The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant in her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America.” (eyewitness to history.com)”

Works Cited:


One response

  1. I believe this photo embodies the hardships of the migrants during the great depression. The look on her weather worn face shows the fear for her children and their future. Because of Dorothea Lange the greater public was shown the strife and troubles the migrant workers were going through. I also am a fan of photography and can appreciate the artistic side of her photo. The closeup shot of the mother with her children facing away really makes the viewer focus on her and see that she is very sad and her children are feeling defeated. All together a very nice post!

    April 13, 2011 at 4:53 am

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