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The World Famous Portrait Photographer – Dorothea Lange

Portrait photo

Dorothea Lange was a female American photographer who became well known as a photographer for capturing photos at a crucial time in the world. She has captured her most famous photos in Family Portrait Photographs by her photography camera. She took most of the photos during the great depression. In those days there were no photography lightings. Her portraits depicted the condition of not just an individual but of the entire nation. Her portraits were so lively that it seemed as if the tragic consequences are being humanized. Dorothea Lange’s work in Migrant Mother is considered to be one of her most famous works. Her creativity teaches us that even the mundane and simple things around us try to convey some of the other messages. It depends on us as to how much aware we are. In the Migrant Mother portrait, Dorothea did not ask for a pose from the mother, but she captured the natural state of the mother  who was asking for help with her photography camera. She was also invited by California Institute of Fine Arts to taking photography classes. She was the co-founder of the magazine called Aperture. Her collection of work which she captured from her photography camera was shown at the Art Institute of Chicago. She was immensely praised for her photography services.

Migrant Mother

Migrant Mother is one of the most renowned photographic series of Dorothea Lange. The photograph is of Florence Owens Thompson and her children. Dorothea approached the mother and somehow explained to her why she wants to photograph her. The lady narrated to her that she lived on frozen vegetables and the animals that her children used to kill. The lady seemed to be an impoverished one. She did not ask any questions as to why was she being photographed. She thought maybe the photographs could help her in some way. The images were recorded using a photography camera called Graflex. The photography of Migrant Mother has become an important icon of the Great Depression. The goal of this series was to inculcate empathy, support and financial aid for farm aid programs. This picture is around eighty years old.

The White Angel Breadline

This portrait is of a widow who is also a working lady and relies on donations that are unsolicited to run her Breadline. It was created in 1933 in San Francisco. Most of Lange’s pictures showed the dreadful conditions of people during the great depression. Her pictures were captured to develop compassion in the hearts of people so that they can come forward and help other people.

The early life of Dorothea Lange

This famous photographer was born on the 26th of May, 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Her father deserted her and her family when she was a mere twelve-year-old kid. She had also developed polio that led to a weakening of her right leg and a limp that was permanent. However, the problems in her life never shook her confidence. In fact, she utilized her shortcomings to form her strength and power. She was a lady of sum and substance who strongly overcame all the struggles of her life. She was an inspirational woman who never allowed the difficulties in her life to stop her. She took up photography as a career option and started rendering photography services.


Dorothea Lange completed her graduation from Wadleigh High School for Girls. She was pertinacious to become a photographer after graduating from high school. She took her photography classes from Columbia University in New York. In her early days, she used to click the portrait pictures of the social elite in New York. When the great depression started, she switched her attention towards the streets. In one of her portraits called the White Angel Breadline, she has captured the studies of unemployed and homeless people. This portrait led to her employment with the Resettlement Administration. She did not choose the lavish life of a photographer who could earn a lot of money. Instead, she shifted her attention towards the impoverished and downtrodden people who could get some help from her pictures.

Awards and Recognition

She was honoured with the Guggenheim Fellowship for her various achievements in photography. However, she gave away her award to capture the impinged evacuation of Japanese Americans. To a lot of viewers, her pictures of Japanese American children are a dreadful reminder of the travesty of people without a valid charge.

Today her pictures are available in the National Archives.

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