Dorothea Lange (May 26th, 1895 - October 11, 1965) is a female photographer known for her documentary photography and photojournalism. Lange started out as an independent portrait photographer in San Francisco, but later started photographing homeless people to bring attention to their lives and struggles. In 1935, Lange began working with the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to document living conditions in poverty-driven areas. Her most well-known work came to life during the Great Depression. Lange’s photographs perfectly created a time machine for future generations to see exactly what kind of poverty existed during this time. Through her photographs you are able to truly put yourself in the shoes of the people in these images. Unlike any other photographers I have personally seen with photos from this era, Lange was able to create something magical. She was able to create truly triumphant series that would capture peoples hearts (and cue their water works) all around the world.
One of Dorothea Lange’s most recognizable photographs is of Florence Owens Thompson or more often referred to as, “Migrant Mother”. This photo was taken in California during the Great Depression and has served as the go-to image of poverty for textbooks in schools and in the minds of anyone who has had the privilege to see it. When originally filed, the photo was titled, “Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California.”
Dorothea’s work is truly an inspiration to me because it shows so well that a photo is actually worth a thousand words. Through her work I am able to have photographs to look at that will push me further to create life-changing art from anywhere and everywhere my camera takes me.
Here is an in-depth video of Dorothea's life from her childhood to fame.
All photos courteous of Dorothea Lange