Dorothea Lange
Migrant Mother, 1936
Photograph: nitrate film negative
4 x 5 in
Image courtesy of Library of Congress

 

This photograph of a migrant farm worker, Florence Owens Thompson, and her children has become an enduring symbol of the Great Depression. Its power lies in its ability to evoke a sense of compassion and vulnerability, alongside a sense of hope for resilience in trying times.
Dorothea Lange was one of several photographers who documented the suffering of rural Americans during the 1930s. Many artists, like Lange, worked for the federal government under President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal programs. These programs sought to stabilize the nation’s troubled economy and provide relief to the millions of unemployed Americans.

 

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