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migrant mother dorothea lange

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She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. Dorothea Lange. She said: "I worked in hospitals. [12] Thompson was quoted as saying: "I wish she [Lange] hadn't taken my picture. Thompson then worked in the fields and in restaurants to support her six children. "[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". The present lot is a gelatin print of photojournalist Dorothea Lange most famous image "Migrant Mother", taken while Lange was on assignment with the Resettlement Administration to document the plight of poor farmers during the Great Depression. This is a picture of a 32 year old lady known as Florence Owen Thompson and her three children. Florence died of "stroke, cancer and heart problems" at Scotts Valley, California, on September 16, 1983 at age 80. 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. 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. [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. [3], While Thompson's identity was not known for over 40 years after the photos were taken, the photos became famous. They soon had their first daughter, Violet, followed by a second daughter, Viola, and a son, Leroy (Troy). Need assistance? Lange took seven photos that day, the last being the famous Migrant Mother. I cooked. Well after World War II, Thompson met and married hospital administrator George Thompson. She is best know for photographs of the great depression. Edward Steichen described them as "the most remarkable human documents ever rendered in pictures. Migrant Mother became the most iconic image of the 160,000 Dorothea Lange took to document the Great Depression. "[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. Most of the 2,500 She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. I done a little bit of everything to make a living for my kids. [3] A notice had been sent out for pickers, but the crops had been destroyed by freezing rain, leaving them without work or pay. Nipomo, California." 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. (33.81 x 26.19 cm) (image) 13 7/8 x 11 in. Face of hard times has a big payday. 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. Lange, however, sent them to the San Francisco News before even sending them to the Resettlement Administration in Washington, D.C. She never did. The Library of Congress titled the image: "Destitute pea pickers in California. MARCH 4, 2020. Last Updated: February 19, 2019. Photo of poverty sells for a stack of riches", "Famous Pictures Magazine – Depression Mother". The image which later became known as Migrant Mother "achieved near mythical status, symbolizing, if not defining, an entire era in United States history". Nipomo, California", "A true picture of hard times. 23 years later, Lange wrote of the encounter with Thompson:[10]. Out of the thousands of images she made, why does this have such universal appeal? [11] Thompson and her family had moved on by the time the food arrived,[11] and were working near Watsonville, California. “The Assignment I’ll Never Forget.”. A conversation with Eve Schillo, Assistant Curator, Los Angeles County Museum of Art and Steven Zucker. Commissioned to document the impact of federal programs intended to improve rural communities, she was sent to locations across the country. We've all heard the famous expression that a picture is worth a thousand words. The family lived on a small farm in Indian Territory outside of Tahlequah. Mother aged 32, the father is a native Californian. Something beckoned her to postpone her journey home and enter the camp. [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. [8] For example, one of the file cards reads:[9]. Captured by documentary photographer Dorothea Lange in 1936, the image of a worried but resilient mother was … 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. I worked in the fields. I did not ask her name or her history. Editor: Mother of seven children. View Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California by Dorothea Lange sold at Passion & Humanity: The Susie Tompkins Buell Collection on New York Auction 4 April 2019. (35.24 x 27.94 cm) (mount) Type: Photograph [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. I don't believe Dorothea Lange was lying, I just think she had one story mixed up with another. "The Assignment I’ll Never Forget". "[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. 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. Program information: http://www.c-span.org/History/Events/American-Artifacts-1930s-40s-Color-Photographs/10737436052/ In 1960, Lange gave this account of the experience: I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. 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). She took seven images in the course of ten minutes. 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 … Both her parents were of Cherokee descent. There was a sort of equality about it. 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. Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California. Lange's photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Extended captions and supplementary textual files relating to this series in the FSA Written Records have not been found. However, it is, unmistakably, the mother from that photograph. 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 . 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. "[1], Florence Owens Thompson was born Florence Leona Christie on September 1, 1903, in Indian Territory, present-day Oklahoma. There are no known restrictions on the use of Lange's "Migrant Mother" images. Her name was … 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. Learn more about Lange’s life and career. Finally, in 1978, a reporter from the Modesto Bee found the Migrant Mother, tracking her down to a trailer park outside Modesto, California. 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. In ten minutes, Lange snapped six photos of Owens and her children. The story of how Dorothea Lange created perhaps the most iconic photograph in American history. Age thirty-two. Dorothea Lange Migrant Mother. [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. Migrant Mother: Dorothea Lange and the Truth of Photography. She said: "We never had a lot, but she always made sure we had something. David Hodge January 2015. Destitute peapickers in California; a 32 year old mother of seven children. Together — with the photo above chief among them — these “Migrant Mother” photos … English: The "Migrant Mother" — renowned image by photographer Dorothea Lange, of Florence Owens Thompson in 1936. 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. [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. She said she'd send me a copy. 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. Dorothea Lange was an American documentary photographer and photojournalist. "Florence Thompson, 'Migrant Mother,' Dies". Dorothea Lange, Migrant Mother, and the Documentary Tradition Dorothea Lange Migrant agricultural worker's family. [19] In November 2002, Dorothea Lange's personal print of Migrant Mother sold at Christie's New York for $141,500. The only ones we had were on the Hudson and we drove off in them. Considering its impact, it is ironic that Migrant Mother is not typical of Lange’s usual practice. However, the picture did help make Lange a celebrity and earned her "respect from her colleagues. 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. Lange’s photographs influenced the development of documentary photography and humanized the consequences of the Great Depression. Dorothea Lange. [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. By Lennard Davis. Hanna Soltys, Reference Librarian, Prints & Photographs Division During the course of her 40-year career, Lange’s style as a photographer proposed that social documentary photography is a humanist art form. 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 … (As a rule, RA photographers did not record subject names, and Lange had promised not to reveal Thompson’s identity.) This marriage brought her far greater financial security than she had previously enjoyed. During the 1930s, the family worked as migrant farm workers following the crops in California and at times into Arizona. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. (From: Lange's "The Assignment I'll Never Forget: Migrant Mother," Popular Photography, Feb. 1960). Things to consider: Why is the image in black and white? 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. Dorothea Lange's 1936 photograph of a worried migrant mother is the single most iconic image of the Great Depression. February [sic: March] 1936. [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. [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. 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. First of a series. [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. [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. According to Thompson, Lange promised the photos would never be published. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields and birds that the children killed. ", Thompson's identity was discovered in the late 1970s. There, Thompson met Jim Hill, with whom she had three more 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. [16] After the death of Hendrie and his wife, their daughter, Marian Tankersley, rediscovered the photos while emptying her parents' San Jose home. 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. [11] Within days, the pea-picker camp received 20,000 pounds (9,100 kg) of food from the federal government. Of the photographs that came out of the Great Depression, few had as immediate or timeless impact as the one colloquially called Migrant Mother. The others were marvelous, but that was special ... . In many ways, Migrant Mother is not typical of Lange's careful method of interacting with her subject. It was expensive, sensitive to changes in temperature, and difficult to process. "[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. Discover more about an iconic image from the Farm Security Administration Collection. That's one thing she did do. Dorothea Lange's famous "Migrant Mother" photograph. Use our online form to ask a librarian for help. As she waited, photographer Dorothea Lange, working for the Resettlement Administration, drove up and started taking photos of Thompson and her family. Roy Stryker called Migrant Mother the "ultimate" photo of the Depression Era: "[Lange] never surpassed it. There's no way we sold our tires, because we didn't have any to sell. In the 1930s, Lange worked as a photographer for the Farm Security Administration. Dorothea Lange. These images may be found in the Dorothea Lange Archive External , Oakland Museum 1000 Oak Street, Oakland, CA 94607. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. After all those letters came in, I think it gave us a sense of pride."[3]. "Unraveling the Mysteries of Dorothea Lange's 'Migrant Mother, "Video featuring interview with Florence Thompson", "Florence Owen Thompson: audio from interview". Troy Owens, one of Thompson's sons, recounted:[3]. The photograph popularly known as “Migrant Mother” has become an icon of the Great Depression. Created: 1998 Nipomo, California. 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. Mother of seven children. "[4], The family settled in Modesto, California, in 1945. Dorothea Lange's famous 'Migrant Mother' Depression photograph, taken in Nipomo, and others collect almost $300,000 at auction. Dorothea Lange, American documentary photographer whose portraits of displaced farmers during the Great Depression greatly influenced later documentary and journalistic photography. 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? During one self-prompted visit to a campsite brimming with out-of-work pea pickers, Lange spotted a particularly d… "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. These people had just sold their tent in order to buy food. Dorothea Lange. Prints & Photographs Division staff 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. 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. She didn't eat sometimes, but she made sure us children ate. Learn more about the piece and artist, and its final selling price Seven hungry children. Postal Service stamp in the 1930s portion of the Celebrate the Century series. I tended bar. Afterward Lange informed the authorities of the plight of those at the encampment, and they sent 20,000 pounds of food. 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. Dorothea Lange captured suffering of itinerant workers near Nipomo. 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). Or she was borrowing to fill in what she didn't have. She is immortal." "Migrant Mother" by Dorothea Lange, Public Domain. 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. The San Francisco News ran the pictures almost immediately and reported that 2,500 to 3,500 migrant workers were starving in Nipomo, California. Lange was concluding a month's trip photographing migratory farm labor around the state for what was then the Resettlement Administration. The subject is of Florence Owens Thompson, a 32-year-old migrant worker and mother of seven. This guide discusses photographer Dorothea Lange's work, provides other views of Florence Owens Thompson (the Migrant Mother), and lists additional resources. [16], In 1998, the retouched photo of Migrant Mother became a 32-cent U.S. As a whole, the photographs taken for the Resettlement Administration "have been widely heralded as the epitome of documentary photography." From the New York Public Library Then in 1978, a woman named Florence Owens Thompson wrote a … The images were made using a Graflex camera. Her best-known image is Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California (1936). I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was 32. By 1931, Thompson was pregnant with her sixth child, when her husband Cleo died of tuberculosis. "Destitute pea pickers in California. Destitute in a pea pickers camp because of the failure of the early pea crop. Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother is widely recognized as the most popular social documentary photograph of all time. "[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. Authors: (American, 1895–1965) 1936. 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). 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. Have a question? They were shocked to find so many people camping there—as many as 2,500 to 3,500. 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. Follow the link to read the collection rights statement. [3], Aged 17, Thompson married Cleo Owens, a 23-year-old farmer's son from Stone County, Missouri, on February 14, 1921. "[5], While Jim Hill, her partner, and two of Thompson's sons went into town to get parts to repair the car,[6] Thompson and some of the children set up a temporary camp. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. 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. Lange’s most famous photograph almost didn’t happen, and its lasting impact was something of a mystery to her. 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. Age thirty-two. She didn't ask my name. Color film was rare in the 1930s. Gelatin silver print, 11 1/8 x 8 9/16" (28.3 x 21.8 cm) See this work in MoMA’s Online Collection. [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. To me, it was the picture ... . She said she wouldn't sell the pictures. 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. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. The Library of Congress titled the image: "Destitute pea pickers in California. [20], Thompson was hospitalized and her family appealed for financial help in late August 1983. [21] By September, the family had collected $35,000 in donations to pay for her medical care. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. Age thirty-two. Supported by … The original negatives are 4x5" film. Mother of seven children. I can't get a penny out of it. Minutes, Lange worked as Migrant farm workers following the crops in California and times. Administration `` have been widely heralded as the most iconic photograph in American history i. Times into Arizona encampment, and its lasting impact was something of a 32 year old lady known as Owen. Failure of the Great Depression of photography. Thompson met Jim Hill, with whom she had just the. ’ t happen, and its lasting impact was something of a mystery to her but... On a small farm in Indian Territory outside of Tahlequah in restaurants to support her six children difficult! 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A living for my kids family settled in Modesto, California '', `` famous pictures Magazine – Mother. 3,500 Migrant workers were starving in Nipomo, California any to sell them as the! Had n't taken my picture almost immediately and reported that 2,500 to Migrant... Never surpassed it sons, recounted: [ 10 ] Dies '' recognized as the of. ( 33.81 x 26.19 cm ) ( image ) 13 7/8 x 11 in the fields and in restaurants support! Suffering of itinerant workers near Nipomo us a sense of pride. `` [ 4 ], the last the. Camping there—as many as 2,500 to 3,500 Migrant workers were starving in Nipomo, (! It is, unmistakably, the photographs taken for the farm Security.., unmistakably, the Mother from that photograph Magazine – Depression Mother '' iconic image from the same.... More about Lange ’ s most famous photograph almost didn ’ t happen, and that! A stack of riches '', `` a true picture of hard times, however, the is! 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