Sunday, December 20, 2009

Migrant Mother and Dog

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Content and Criticism
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) was an influential American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.

Lange's best-known picture is titled "Migrant Mother and Dog" (1936) and the image shows the strength and need of migrant workers and their faithful dogs. The woman in the photo is Florence Owens Thompson and her dog is Carmella. In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:

"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. The dog wagged her tail and did not bark at me. 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, the squirrels the dog hunted 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 and dog 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.”

More Art Hound (by artist)

Dorthea Lange's Migrant Mother

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