Dorothea Lange

Migrant Mother

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The Story of the Migrant Mother

This photo was an icon for the Great Depression many farmers suffered through. Lange was hired as a photographer at a Resettlement Agency, where she met the woman Florence Thompson and her seven children, sitting in their makeshift tent, eating frozen vegetables from surrounding pea fields that had been almost completely destroyed. She had just sold the tires on their car to pay for food. The expression on her face says it all; they have nothing. Poverty forced her and her children into a life of wandering, trying to find any job anyone would give her. This was the life of many, many people during the Great Depression. Her vacant, tired expression describes the life that too many lived at that time. Lange wanted to get this message across to the people of the world who didn't truly know the horrible life the depression brought on.

In My Opinion...

This photo is beautiful and raw. You can see the hunger pains that wrack her body. Her children hide their faces. This photograph opened the eyes of many people who didn't -couldn't- understand this desperate life of poverty. I wouldn't change a single thing about this portrait. It's so emotional, it really speaks to me. At the time, Florence, the subject in this photograph, was only 32. She looks so worn from the years of struggle and pain. Her husband died and left her penniless with 7 children. Many years later, they found her, and she was still kicking, still living her life after all those years of wishing it would 'just be over already'. It gives me hope, in a way.

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