Dorothea Lange is a photographer based in New York. She relocated to San Francisco in 1919, where she worked as a portrait photographer for almost a decade. Lange's interest in social concerns developed during the early years of the Depression, and she began photographing the city's dispossessed. Her images became symbols of American suffering during that time.
Lange first came to national attention after taking photos at the West Coast Dock in 1930. These photographs were published in newspapers across the country, and they made her name as one of the most important photographers of the Great Depression.
Lange continued to photograph people during the following years, always focusing on those who were economically deprived. The majority of her subjects were Americans living on the edge of survival, but she also photographed immigrants from around the world seeking employment in the United States.
Lange died in Seattle in 1958 at the age of 72. But her work continues to be seen by many students of photography as an example to follow: it is extremely influential, it has been used by many artists since its creation in the 1930s, and it is still being done today by some photographers working in the genre.
Lange is known as the mother of modern documentary photography. Before her work was published, photographs were used primarily by journalists as sources of information or as illustrations. But Lange showed that photographs could also be artistic works in themselves, capable of telling stories about the human condition.
Dorothea Lange's Dorothea Lange's Her FSA photography was mostly shot in California. Her "Migrant Mother" pictures, taken in Nipomo, California, are among the most well-known images of the Great Depression. The photograph was not meant to be published but was instead given to the National Archives for preservation. There is now a museum on site where this picture is on display all the time.
Lange was one of many photographers who traveled around America taking pictures for the Federal Works Agency, which was created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as part of his New Deal initiative. The agency hired photographers to take pictures of public works projects such as roads, schools, and hospitals for use by newspapers and other agencies that needed visual documentation of these projects.
Many famous artists of the time including Edward Weston, Carl Mydans, and Alfred Eisenstaedt took pictures for the agency. Although it was not intended to be a commercial endeavor, many of these photographs were sold to news organizations for publication.
In 1937, Lange was invited by the American Federation of Labor to come to Washington, DC, to document workers' struggles during the building of the Tennessee Valley Authority. She also photographed many poor farmers in California who were struggling with debt caused by agricultural prices that had collapsed. In total, her work covered nearly 40 states across 5 years.
However, when the Great Depression struck, Lange reacted to the changes by returning to the city streets and capturing the homeless people who lived there. She had grown tired of working in the studio and preferred the hustle and bustle of street shooting. These photographs are now considered milestones in the history of photography.
Lange was not alone in her pursuit of street photography. In fact, she joined a group of photographers who were also interested in this kind of work. They called themselves "the New York Street Photography Club" and included such names as Edward Curtis, Arthur Rothstein, and Lewis Wickes Jr..
Lange's photographs often show single figures against a background of urban architecture. The subjects can be standing or sitting, but they always appear relaxed and natural. Even though most people will recognize some of the subjects from history books or newspaper articles, that wasn't necessarily planned out by Lange. She just pointed her camera at them and clicked away.
In addition to being an influential photographer in its own right, the work of the New York Street Photography Club is also credited with launching the photojournalism movement.
Lange died in 1986 at the age of 100. Today, there is a museum dedicated to her life and work located near where she grew up in Northern California.
Dorothea Lange (1895–1955) is widely regarded as America's best documentary photographer. She is well known for her photos of migrant agricultural labourers and her memoirs of the Great Depression.
Lange was born on May 22, 1895 in Washington State. Her parents were German immigrants who had come to the United States looking for a better life. They eventually settled in Washington State where Dorothea's father opened his own grocery store at age 23. The family was fairly wealthy but they suffered through their own financial problems during the Great Depression. In order to make more money, Dorothea's mother took in boarders to help pay the bills.
At the age of 18, Dorothea graduated from high school and went to work as an office assistant for a doctor. She later moved to Seattle where she worked as a model for a portrait photographer. It was here that she met Paul Taylor, who would become her husband. He was a young man working for a railroad company when he saw some of her photographs and asked Dorothea to take some pictures of unemployed men in California who were looking for work. This is how she got started as a documentary photographer.
During the Great Depression, people had very little money and there were no jobs available so many people turned to agriculture as a way to make a living.