During the course of her 40-year career, Lange’s style as a photographer proposed that social documentary photography is a humanist art form. Dorothea Lange. [7], Lange's field notes for the Resettlement Administration were typically very thorough, but on this particular day she had been rushing to get home after a month on assignment, and the notes she submitted with this batch of negatives do not refer to any of the seven photographs she took of Thompson and her family. Dorothea Lange. Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California March 1936 Not on view For many, Lange’s Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California is the single most recognizable image from the Great Depression, epitomizing the desperate circumstances many found themselves in during that period. In ten minutes, Lange snapped six photos of Owens and her children. [15], In the late 1960s, Bill Hendrie found the original Migrant Mother photograph along with 31 other unretouched, vintage photos by Dorothea Lange in a dumpster at the San Jose Chamber of Commerce. This guide discusses photographer Dorothea Lange's work, provides other views of Florence Owens Thompson (the Migrant Mother), and lists additional resources. Dorothea Lange's famous 'Migrant Mother' Depression photograph, taken in Nipomo, and others collect almost $300,000 at auction. This marriage brought her far greater financial security than she had previously enjoyed. Migrant Mother became the most iconic image of the 160,000 Dorothea Lange took to document the Great Depression. Need assistance? Thompson later recalled periods when she picked 400–500 pounds (180–230 kg) of cotton from first daylight until after it was too dark to work. The compelling image of a mother and her children is actually one of a series of photographs that Dorothea Lange made in February or March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. View Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California by Dorothea Lange sold at Passion & Humanity: The Susie Tompkins Buell Collection on New York Auction 4 April 2019. According to Thompson, Lange promised the photos would never be published. Thompson then worked in the fields and in restaurants to support her six children. [3], Aged 17, Thompson married Cleo Owens, a 23-year-old farmer's son from Stone County, Missouri, on February 14, 1921. As a whole, the photographs taken for the Resettlement Administration "have been widely heralded as the epitome of documentary photography." Dorothea Lange, American documentary photographer whose portraits of displaced farmers during the Great Depression greatly influenced later documentary and journalistic photography. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. The only ones we had were on the Hudson and we drove off in them. The following are the six other photos: Collection of the Oakland Museum of California, Farm Security Administration–Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Library of Congress, Native-American farm worker, subject of Dorothea Lange's famous photo Migrant Mother. [11] Thompson and her family had moved on by the time the food arrived,[11] and were working near Watsonville, California. Dorothea Lange's famous "Migrant Mother" photograph. Nipomo, California." I don't believe Dorothea Lange was lying, I just think she had one story mixed up with another. Gelatin silver print, 11 1/8 x 8 9/16" (28.3 x 21.8 cm) See this work in MoMA’s Online Collection. Postal Service stamp in the 1930s portion of the Celebrate the Century series. Mother aged 32, the father is a native Californian. Afterward Lange informed the authorities of the plight of those at the encampment, and they sent 20,000 pounds of food. "Florence Thompson, 'Migrant Mother,' Dies". Edward Steichen described them as "the most remarkable human documents ever rendered in pictures. The family lived on a small farm in Indian Territory outside of Tahlequah. Dorothea Lange's "Migrant Mother" Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information collection overview, Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information black-and-white negatives rights statement. [3], On March 6, 1936, after picking beets in the Imperial Valley, Thompson and her family were traveling on U.S. Highway 101 towards Watsonville "where they had hoped to find work in the lettuce fields of the Pajaro Valley. Have a question? [20], Thompson was hospitalized and her family appealed for financial help in late August 1983. [8] For example, one of the file cards reads:[9]. 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. Something beckoned her to postpone her journey home and enter the camp. Migrant Mother Series of Images Note: Two images showing the mother and children in the tent, taken at a medium range and from an angle, apparently were never received by the Library of Congress. Mère migrante, Migrant Mother en anglais, est la photographie la plus célèbre de Dorothea Lange et une des plus connues du programme de la Farm Security Administration (FSA). A conversation with Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Steven Zucker. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. (As a rule, RA photographers did not record subject names, and Lange had promised not to reveal Thompson’s identity.) Use our online form to ask a librarian for help. Well, how about one that's worth 169,000 words and 20,000 pounds of food? Photographed at "Pea-Pickers Camp" — in Nipomo, San Luis Obispo County, central California.From a Resettlement Administration documentation project, the photograph has become one of the iconic images of the Great Depression.There are two versions of … (American, 1895–1965) 1936. Seven hungry children. (35.24 x 27.94 cm) (mount) Type: Photograph I can't get a penny out of it. Discover more about an iconic image from the Farm Security Administration Collection. Migrant Mother, 1936 Lange had just completed a month-long photographic assignment and was driving back home in a wind-driven rain when she came upon a sign for the camp. Age thirty-two. [16] After the death of Hendrie and his wife, their daughter, Marian Tankersley, rediscovered the photos while emptying her parents' San Jose home. By Lennard Davis. [16] In October 2005, an anonymous buyer paid $296,000 at Sotheby's for the 32 rediscovered Lange photos—nearly six times their pre-bid estimate. “The Assignment I’ll Never Forget.”. She never did. "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, Public Domain. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. While she waited, she was approached by an apparently friendly photographer named Dorothea Lange, who was touring the Central Valley at the request of the federal government to document the plight of migrant laborers. She said: "I worked in hospitals. Considering its impact, it is ironic that Migrant Mother is not typical of Lange’s usual practice. These images may be found in the Dorothea Lange Archive External , Oakland Museum 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607. She said she wouldn't sell the pictures. Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. There's no way we sold our tires, because we didn't have any to sell. There, Thompson met Jim Hill, with whom she had three more children. Color film was rare in the 1930s. Authors: 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 March of 1936 in Nipomo, California. Looking at Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother Something appears to have been mixed up here, since the photograph above is not the well-known Migrant Mother photograph by Dorothea Lange . Program information: http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/American-Artifacts-1930s-40s-Color-Photographs/10737436052/ Cette image, captée avec cinq autres clichés en février 1936, représentant Florence Owens Thompson et ses enfants, est devenue le symbole de la Grande Dépression aux États-Unis. Lange took seven photos that day, the last being the famous Migrant Mother. Learn more about Lange’s life and career. The identity of Migrant Mother was not learned until 1978, when a reporter from the Modesto Bee newspaper located Thompson, then in her mid-seventies, at her mobile home outside of Modesto, California. Years later, Thompson told an interviewer that when she cooked food for her children that day, other children appeared from the pea pickers' camp asking, "Can I have a bite? [2] Her father, Jackson Christie, had abandoned her mother, Mary Jane Cobb, before she was born, and her mother remarried Charles Akman (of Choctaw descent) in the spring of 1905. The images were made using a Graflex camera. The Library of Congress titled the image: "Destitute pea pickers in California. Florence Owens Thompson (born Florence Leona Christie; September 1, 1903 – September 16, 1983) was the subject of Dorothea Lange's famous photograph Migrant Mother (1936), an iconic image of the Great Depression. Together — with the photo above chief among them — these “Migrant Mother” photos … (33.81 x 26.19 cm) (image) 13 7/8 x 11 in. Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother. We've all heard the famous expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. They soon had their first daughter, Violet, followed by a second daughter, Viola, and a son, Leroy (Troy). Note: This guide is adapted from "Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother' Photographs in the Farm Security Administration Collection" list, previously available on the Prints & Photographs Reading Room webpage. Dorothea Lange (born Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn; May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965) was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). (From: Lange's "The Assignment I'll Never Forget: Migrant Mother," Popular Photography, Feb. 1960). I cooked. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. "[3] On the road, the car's timing chain snapped and they coasted to a stop just inside a pea-pickers' camp on Nipomo Mesa. Nipomo, California. In addition to this work assignment, however, Lange also found herself working on a personal project: photographing the real-life effects of the Great Depression. Florence Owens Thompson (born Florence Leona Christie; September 1, 1903 – September 16, 1983) was the subject of Dorothea Lange's famous photograph Migrant Mother (1936), an iconic image of the Great Depression. The photograph popularly known as “Migrant Mother” has become an icon of the Great Depression. However, it is, unmistakably, the mother from that photograph. February [sic: March] 1936. Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. [12] Thompson was quoted as saying: "I wish she [Lange] hadn't taken my picture. By 1931, Thompson was pregnant with her sixth child, when her husband Cleo died of tuberculosis. But “Dorothea Lange: Migrant Mother,” a new book from the Museum of Modern Art, offers fresh insights as it weaves a compelling tale about some little-explored details. Lange’s most famous photograph almost didn’t happen, and its lasting impact was something of a mystery to her. [16], In 1998, the retouched photo of Migrant Mother became a 32-cent U.S. Learn more about the piece and artist, and its final selling price Created: 1998 "[13], While the image was being prepared for exhibit in 1938,[14] the negative of the photo was retouched to remove Florence's thumb from the lower-right corner of the image. First of a series. "The Assignment I’ll Never Forget". English: The "Migrant Mother" — renowned image by photographer Dorothea Lange, of Florence Owens Thompson in 1936. [11] Within days, the pea-picker camp received 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg) of food from the federal government. Exhausted after a long road-trip, she did not speak extensively to the migrant woman, or Thompson herself, and may not have recorded any notes. Extended captions and supplementary textual files relating to this series in the FSA Written Records have not been found. The "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange Thesis Statement The photograph of the "Migrant Mother" was taken by Dorothea Lange in March 1936 during her trip to Nimpo during the Great Depression. Supported by … She told me her age, that she was 32. It seems that the published newspaper reports about this camp were later distilled into captions for the series, which explains inaccuracies on the file cards in the Library of Congress. Nipomo, California", "A true picture of hard times. The image which later became known as Migrant Mother "achieved near mythical status, symbolizing, if not defining, an entire era in United States history". There was a sort of equality about it. Age thirty-two. She said she'd send me a copy. Dorothea Lange's 1936 photograph of a worried migrant mother is the single most iconic image of the Great Depression, and one of the most famous pictures of … "[24], In a 2008 interview with CNN, Thompson's daughter Katherine McIntosh recalled how her mother was a "very strong lady", and "the backbone of our family". I did not ask her name or her history. The original negatives are 4x5" film. She is best know for photographs of the great depression. Finally, in 1978, a reporter from the Modesto Bee found the Migrant Mother, tracking her down to a trailer park outside Modesto, California. Things to consider: Why is the image in black and white? Destitute in a pea pickers camp because of the failure of the early pea crop. I did not ask her name or her history. [11], Though Thompson's 10 children bought her a house in Modesto, California in the 1970s, Thompson found she preferred living in a mobile home and moved back into one. She didn't eat sometimes, but she made sure us children ate. Dorothea Lange. The subject is of Florence Owens Thompson, a 32-year-old migrant worker and mother of seven. Well after World War II, Thompson met and married hospital administrator George Thompson. [3], While Thompson's identity was not known for over 40 years after the photos were taken, the photos became famous. The San Francisco News ran the pictures almost immediately and reported that 2,500 to 3,500 migrant workers were starving in Nipomo, California. There are no known restrictions on the use of Lange's "Migrant Mother" images. Mother of seven children. Follow the link to read the collection rights statement. "[4], The family settled in Modesto, California, in 1945. In the 1930s, Lange worked as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration. Photo of poverty sells for a stack of riches", "Famous Pictures Magazine – Depression Mother". [19] In November 2002, Dorothea Lange's personal print of Migrant Mother sold at Christie's New York for $141,500. Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother is widely recognized as the most popular social documentary photograph of all time. After all those letters came in, I think it gave us a sense of pride."[3]. To me, it was the picture ... . [17] The stamp printing was unusual, as daughters Katherine McIntosh (on the left in the stamp) and Norma Rydlewski (in Thompson's arms in the stamp) were alive at the time of the printing; usually, the Postal Service does not print stamps of individuals who have not been dead for at least 10 years. Or she was borrowing to fill in what she didn't have. Her best-known image is Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936). During one self-prompted visit to a campsite brimming with out-of-work pea pickers, Lange spotted a particularly d… Mother of seven children. Editor: Florence died of "stroke, cancer and heart problems" at Scotts Valley, California, on September 16, 1983 at age 80. Hanna Soltys, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, has become an enduring icon since its making in 1936.Taken while Lange was working for the Farm Security Administration documenting the hardships of the Great Depression, Migrant Mother combines the photographer’s characteristic respect and empathy for her subjects with her compositional rigor. Commissioned to document the impact of federal programs intended to improve rural communities, she was sent to locations across the country. From the New York Public Library Then in 1978, a woman named Florence Owens Thompson wrote a … Lange on "Migrant Mother" "It was raining, the camera bags were packed, and I had on the seat beside me in the car the results of my long trip, the box containing all those rolls and packs of exposed film ready to mail back to Washington. As she waited, photographer Dorothea Lange, working for the Resettlement Administration, drove up and started taking photos of Thompson and her family. Last Updated: February 19, 2019. MARCH 4, 2020. "[3] As Lange was funded by the federal government when she took the picture, the image was public domain, and Lange was not entitled to royalties. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, Nipomo California, 1936, printed later, gelatin silver print, 35.24 x 27.78 cm (Los Angeles County Museum of Art, PG.1997.2). Captured by documentary photographer Dorothea Lange in 1936, the image of a worried but resilient mother was … Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. [22][23] She was buried in Lakewood Memorial Park, in Hughson, California, and her gravestone reads: "FLORENCE LEONA THOMPSON Migrant Mother – A Legend of the Strength of American Motherhood. [21] By September, the family had collected $35,000 in donations to pay for her medical care. "Unraveling the Mysteries of Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother, "Video featuring interview with Florence Thompson", "Florence Owen Thompson: audio from interview". During the 1930s, the family worked as migrant farm workers following the crops in California and at times into Arizona. "[25], Son Troy Owens said that more than 2,000 letters received along with donations for his mother's medical fund led to a re-appraisal of the photo: "For Mama and us, the photo had always been a bit of [a] curse. "[1], Florence Owens Thompson was born Florence Leona Christie on September 1, 1903, in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. This is a picture of a 32 year old lady known as Florence Owen Thompson and her three children. 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. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. Sally Stein, ‘Passing Likeness: Dorothea Lange’s “Migrant Mother” and the Paradox of Iconicity’, in Only Skin Deep: Changing Visions of the American Self, exhibition catalogue, International Centre of Photography, New York 2004, pp.345–55, reproduced p.344. [3] The family migrated west with other Owens relatives to Oroville, California, where they worked in the saw mills and on the farms of the Sacramento Valley. Mother of seven children. Title: Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California; Date Created: 1936; origin: United States; Physical Dimensions: w10.31 x h13.31 in (image) Photographer: Dorothea Lange; Measurements: 13 5/16 x 10 5/16 in. Migrant Mother: Dorothea Lange and the Truth of Photography. She didn't ask my name. Out of the thousands of images she made, why does this have such universal appeal? She said: "We never had a lot, but she always made sure we had something. Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, and the Documentary Tradition Dorothea Lange Migrant agricultural worker's family. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. Lange, however, sent them to the San Francisco News before even sending them to the Resettlement Administration in Washington, D.C. I worked in the fields. Dorothea Lange. [18], In the same month the U.S. stamp was issued, a print of the photograph with Lange's handwritten notes and signature sold in 1998 for $244,500 at Sotheby's New York. She is immortal." Prints & Photographs Division staff The others were marvelous, but that was special ... . Lange's photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Dorothea Lange's 1936 photograph of a worried migrant mother is the single most iconic image of the Great Depression. ", Thompson's identity was discovered in the late 1970s. Her name was … "Destitute pea pickers in California. [3] In 1933, Thompson had another child, returned to Oklahoma for a time, and then was joined by her parents as they migrated to Shafter, California, north of Bakersfield. David Hodge January 2015. In 1978, acting on a tip, Modesto Bee reporter Emmett Corrigan located Thompson at her mobile home in Space 24 of the Modesto Mobile Village and recognized her from the 42-year-old photograph. [3] A notice had been sent out for pickers, but the crops had been destroyed by freezing rain, leaving them without work or pay. I done a little bit of everything to make a living for my kids. Most of the 2,500 That's one thing she did do. However, the picture did help make Lange a celebrity and earned her "respect from her colleagues. Both her parents were of Cherokee descent. Roy Stryker called Migrant Mother the "ultimate" photo of the Depression Era: "[Lange] never surpassed it. Age thirty-two. 23 years later, Lange wrote of the encounter with Thompson:[10]. In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience: I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children. "An Appeal For A Face From The Depression", "Girl from iconic Great Depression photo: 'We were ashamed, Overview of the Migrant Mother series at the LOC, Video of interview of Florence Owens Thompson, Interview with Katherine McIntosh and Norma Rydlewski (Katherine is the baby in the photo and Norma was four years-old when the image was taken); 36 minutes - produced by Blackside for, Article on the photo shoot and reinterpretation of an image, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Florence_Owens_Thompson&oldid=997340851, People notable for being the subject of a specific photograph, Wikipedia articles with WORLDCATID identifiers, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 31 December 2020, at 01:58. Were on the Hudson and we drove off in them relating to this series in 1930s. English: the `` ultimate '' photo of poverty sells for a of... `` [ Lange ] never surpassed it, and they sent 20,000 pounds of food to her. 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