Dorethea Lange the photographer



DATE: 12/14/2020



Dorothea Lange was born into a family of two she was born in New Jersey in 1895. Her father was a lawyer but also a businessman he was Heinrich Nutzzhorn while her mother was Johanna who managed the household. Her parents divorced and made her very angry. Lange was not so interested in academics. When she was seven years old she contracted polio which permanently weakened her right leg. Polio was the one thing that affected her life the most it formed her, guided her, and transformed her life and humiliated her. She never got over them. She at the age of 23 she eventually opened a portrait studio in San Francisco. She then met her husband who was a painter. Her marriage faced several challenges that lead to her divorce. She, later on, married Paul S. Taylor an economics professor. As a result, she walked with a limb for the remainder of her life. She grew up in a middle-class family. She was attracted by the rich diversity of the New York slum a magnet. She would skip class with her friend to walk the streets of the lower East side because of the large crowd and immigrant life that fascinated her. She would pass through the neighbourhood by putting on a face to pass through which was an expressin not drawing attention. She used this face to make people not to be so defensive and take photos of them during their migrations. She attended Columbia University where she took classes in Photography. Throughout the remainder of her life, she struggled through many of health problems including bleeding ulcers. She died on October 11, 1965, at the age of seventy following a battle with esophageal cancer. She has been remembered in many ways a school near the spot where she photographed the migrant mother has been named in her honor. She has also been indicted in the California Hall of Fame. Her most lasting legacies will always be the images she captured during the 1930s and 1940s which will continue to serve as haunting reminders of those times.

Dorothea who had begun as an independent portrait photographer later began photographing homeless people which later on made her great and stand out. She showed her photography from childhood experiences. Since she was not so great in academics, she wanted to be a photographer. She began her photography career and after school, she would work under Arnold Genthe who had a studio that was well known for his pictures. She knew photography because she was doing it practically. The relevance of the photography education she was taking was that she was able to pay her bills and even met her husband and made a family there.

Her work was exemplary after quitting the school for teachers she had the skills to open a studio. She awarded for her many images like “Migrant Mother” which she took when the great depression struck Lange began photographing the homeless and unemployed she saw arriving in California. Her photographs of refugees attracted the attention of government agencies and she was eventually employed by the farm security administration also known as the resettlement administration. She along with her husband continued to document the destitute individuals they encountered over the 1930s. Her husband Taylor was an economics professor who collected data while Lange photographed the people. Many of photographs helped to bring the plight of the poor to national intention. The photos appeared in newspapers and magazines across the country. Her most favorite photo is entitled “Migrant Mother” which shows a distraught woman and her children. In 1942 after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, thousands of Japanese-Americans were being forced to relocate into internment camps and Lange was there with her camera. She preserved images of Japanese-Americans who had committed no crime but were being detained by their own country. She had empathy for the physically disabled because she too was one of them and her work touched many. The U.S army disapproved of her photographs and impounded them for thirty years. Lange went on teaching photography at the California School of Fine Arts.

She was a portrait photographer and her photographs carry a wealth of truth to the viewer that is not certainly a fact but a creation. Her portraits were mainly family pictures of neighbors and family she became tired of doing portraits and moved on to doing studio still lives. Her plight for the poor and homeless and unemployed is what encouraged her to take more photos. She truly was a gift to her family. She took of the migrant mother and workers for them to be taken care of too. Photography can document and also be fine art because she has chosen to create her narrative the story of a carrying mother who is carrying the weight of the world with her many children. That close lens that she took the photos with creates an intimacy making people more empathetic because in the 1930s in the first years was when people could starve. Dorothea Lange has been given an assignment in that period she was assigned very broad topics like cooking, sleeping, and socializing that is when a photograph and a document are the same. The art moved people emotionally and rallied support from the government since it was reproduced and those who almost starved were given assistance. All the needy images of the children and families and she felt touched. She was considered a sociologist and because of her photos she passed several message and even wrote a book on them like the white exodus. She was assisted by her husband to write the books in ways that would assist those in need. Lange and Taylor were dedicated to explain the human suffering. Through her photos people are able to see her feelings through them they could speak for themselves. She made portraits of successful people who enabled her earn more. Dorothy tried to produce the woman as a universal symbol and she succeeded and has come to be the image that comes to mind when we think of the great depression, migrant labor, and that Dorothy who was a third generational American was able to go to Colombia and New York to study photography. She believed in less posing and let the images get into you those were her techniques.

Dorothea Lange was a very hardworking woman and an entrepreneur too who was passionate about photography and pursued it. She was an independent woman who did everything to achieve what she wanted especially for her family. I chose her because of what she faced as a child till later on being very famous. She had polio that changed her life by weakening her right limb which made her face criticism when young and to be called so many names. She faced a lot in her childhood and had to take care of her family by looking for a job she even got married twice. Truly life was challenging her every time but she conquered. Her photographs are the best and a masterpiece of how they depict emotions and document them at the same time.

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