Dorothea Lange is one of the most famous photographers of the 20th Century. Unfortunately, as it happens with the vast of majority of artists, at her death in 1965, her genius was only recognized by a handful of people. The Great Depression meant not only major shifts in the economic and social spheres, but it had also a great impact on the artists of that era.
Lange reached her career zenith during the 1930s (she was in her 30s as well), after she took some amazing shots that can give us an idea about the hardships of the Great Depression. Indisputably her most well known work, “Migrant Mother” became the icon of the American 1930s. The photo, showing a 32 year old mother was both shocking and beautiful. Shocking, because poverty made that woman look like a 50 year old. Beautiful, because although she suffered a lot, you could still see that she was a fine-looking lady. All the photos that you’ll see below are from those terrible years, where most of the people waited as much as 30 days in order to get a full day of work. Now, enjoy, be inspired, and if you will like this article, then please share it with your friends or community! Many thanks! Cheers!
P.S. You would probably like to see Robert Doisneau – A Tribute To A Master Of Photography.
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Drought refugees from Abilene, Texas (1936)
August 1936. Drought refugees from Abilene, Texas, following the crops of California as migratory workers.
Tavern on main street of potato town during harvest season in Oregon (Oct. 1939)
Toward Los Angeles (California, March 1937)
Unemployed lumber worker ( Oregon, August 1939)
“Unemployed lumber worker goes with his wife to the bean harvest. Note Social Security number tattooed on arm.” Is determined through a public records search that 535-07-5248 belonged to one Thomas Cave, born July 1912, died in 1980 in Portland, OR. Which would make him 27 years old when this picture was taken.
Migrant Mother (1936)
Six Tenant Farmers, Hardenman Country,Texas (1938)
Oldwater District, north of Dalhart, Texas (1938)
American River Camp, Sacramento, California (1936)
Imperial Valley, California (1937)
Crossroads Store,Person County, North Carolina (1939)
Grapes of Wrath (1940)
T he grocery store in the photo was owned by a Japanese-American. The banner “I am an American” was unfurled shortly after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Lange took the photograph in 1942 shortly before the owner was “relocated” to an internment camp.
San Francisco Unemployment Benefits Line
young Texan mother
Riverbank Gas Station (c. 1940)
Jobless on Edge of Pea Field Imperial Valley, California (1937)
Plantation Overseer and His Field Hands,near Clarksdale. Mississippi (1936)
Street Demonstration, San Francisco (1933)
White Angel Bread Line (1932)
Premier of “The Jazz Singer,” starring Al Jolson, New York City (1927)
Japanese refugees (1942)
Various sources: masters-of-photography.com; alafoto.com; npr.org.