DOROTHEA LANGE (1895-1965)
Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) born in Hoboken, New Jersey into a family of German immigrants studies at Columbia University under the guidance of the photographer Clarence H. White.
In 1912 she opens a photographic studio in San Francisco. She begins working as a portrait photographer, interested in the psychological aspect of her subjects but still working within the context of the pictorial style of the period.
The American Depression in the early 30’s is to drastically change her approach to photography.
Hired by the Farm Securities Administration, funded by the US Congress she begins a exploration of the vast movement of migratory workers to the West. This experience is to mark her forever. The portraits she produces during this period reveal a deep understanding, compassion and sensitivity towards her fellow man. Her most famous work, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California symbolizes a triumph of the human spirit in times of difficulty.
Dorothea Lange’s photography was to inspire Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath” which in turn inspired John Ford’s film adaptation.
Dorothea Lange continues to work primarily as a documentary photographer throughout her career, photographing the underprivileged and destitute of America.
In 1972, the Whitney Museum commemorates her work on the Japanese internment camps in the US following the second World War in an exhibit about the internment period.
In 1965, Dorothea Lange dies of cancer, just a few days prior to the opening of her largest retrospective exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, New York.