Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Dorothea Lange "Migrant Mother" Series Photograph - Image 2 Library of Congress

TribunePhotos Auctions 1936 Dorothea Lange Print On Ebay From The Photo Archives Of The Baltimore Sun Newspaper.

This photo sold on eBay for $2,609.99 with 33 bids.
Do you recognize this photo? The photo was taken by Dorothea Lange (1895-1865) for the Farm Security Administration in 1936 during the depression-era. The photo is from a set of 5 images captured by Lange that have come to be known as the "Migrant Mother" photographs. The 4x5 negatives reside in the Library of Congress of which this is image 2. This photo print was distributed in 1936 by The Wide World of Photos Inc. for the Resettlement Administration. Lange was co-founder of Aperture magazine and her work influenced the development of documentary photography.

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About the Migrant Mother series from the Library of Congress...


Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection: An Overview

The photograph that has become known as "Migrant Mother" is one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made of Florence Owens Thompson and her children in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience:

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. 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, 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 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. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).

The images were made using a Graflex camera. The original negatives are 4x5" film. It is not possible to determine on the basis of the negative numbers (which were assigned later at the Resettlement Administration) the order in which the photographs were taken.

About this photograph from the Library of Congress...

Caption: "Nipomo, Calif. Mar. 1936. Migrant agricultural worker's family. Seven hungry children. Mother aged 32, the father is a native Californian. Destitute in a pea pickers camp, because of the failure of the early pea crop. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Most of the 2,500 people in this camp were destitute."

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