Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California
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- Sarah Hermanson Meister
- The Museum of Modern Art, New York
- Publication date:
The United States was in the midst of the Depression when photographer Dorothea Lange, a portrait-studio owner, began documenting the country¬ís rampant poverty. Her depictions of unemployed men wandering the streets of San Francisco gained the attention of one of President Franklin D. Roosevelt¬ís New Deal agencies, the Resettlement Administration (later the Farm Security Administration), and she started photographing the rural poor under its auspices. Her images triggered a pivotal public recognition of the lives of sharecroppers, displaced families, and migrant workers. One day in Nipomo, California, Lange recalled, she ¬ësaw and approached [a] hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet.¬í The woman¬ís name was Frances Owens Thompson, and the result of their encounter was five exposures, including Migrant Mother , which would become an iconic piece of documentary photography.