Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother

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Background History

During the Great Depression photographer Dorothea Lange decided to step away from the studio side of photography and capture the suffering that the United States was experiencing. She took an assignment from the Resettlement Association, an organization that helped relocate poor families. During the assignment she came across a campsite full of unemployed pea pickers in the town of Nipomo, California. Lange then asked one of the workers if she could take a picture of herself and her seven children. The woman, later whose name was discovered to be Florence Thompson, agreed. Dorothea took six pictures of the worker and her children. The photo "Migrant Mother" shows the woman holding a baby and looking off into the distance while two of her other children are cowering behind her. This image became one of the most iconic pictures of the Great Depression as well as the 20th century. Dorothea Lange took the iconic image because she wanted to educate the public about the large amount of hardworking yet poor Americans like Florence Johnson.
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My Opinion

In my opinion, I think that this is an excellent portrait. I absolutely love the emotion and raw feelings that are expressed in the image. There are many aspects of this photograph that make it unique. One is that this portrait was not posed and there was not any type of studio set up in order the capture the moment. The situation was not created, it was a scene from everyday life. I also think that this image is unique because it is not a "glamour" shot. It wasn't meant to sugarcoat the women's life, it showed exactly what it was really like. Personally, I would not change anything to this photo. I think it sends the message loud and clear the way it is. I think that Dorothea Lange successfully captured the woman's personality and emotion. There are so many different expression and feelings that are shown in just one picture. I can see the emotions of worry, concern, sadness, pain, and suffering all in the one iconic image.

By Madison Sloup