Artist: Dorothy Lange

Posted on by Ben Hodson

Documentary and photojournalism seems to me, to be one of the most obvious agitators in the change of popular opinion.  Documentary photography came out of the public's desire to view the “reality” of situations.  There are a number of examples of documentary photographers who managed to draw attention to issues that they felt needed to be changed.  Dorothy Lange's image “Migrant Mother”(1936) was dubbed the image that changed US policy towards the incredible poverty during the great depression in America.  Her image of a mother and her children both affected the left political resolve and forced new aid to the people directly affected by the starvation.  Lange intentionally composed the shot to give maximum impact.  Through some initial research we see that this individual family actually had a car and had just returned from their work place.  These facts were not made clear for a number of years and her image certainly doesn't relay this information.  This removing of the context made her image incredibly powerful and subsequently has become one of the most reproduced images in the US.  It certainly is one of the most famous images associated with the great depression in America.