lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

L is for Dorothea Lange #AtoZ Challenge

 Dorothea Lange with a Graflex 5×7 Series D. Image by Rondal Partridge, Farm Security Administration


Dorothea Lange was born on May 26th, 1895, in Hoboken, New Jersey, as Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn – she changed her name later to her mother’s maiden name, as she blamed her father for the divorce of her parents.

After she went to High School, Dorothea went to teacher training school – she wasn’t that academic, and after working for a NYC photo studio decided to make photography her career – going on to study it at Columbia University.

By 1918 she was married to Maynard Dixon, a muralist, with two sons and running a successful photo studio.

In the 20s she traveled round the south west of America with her husband and took portraits of Native Americans, and later during the Depression in the 30s portraits of severe poverty right there in her own neigbourhood such as strikes, and her famous image ‘White Angel Breadline’. But she wasn’t happily married and when she met Paul Taylor, an economist, she married him. They travelled together to document the Depression and this was when many of Dorothea’s most famous works, the images of depressed farmworkers, were taken for the Farm Security Division.

Lange’s iconic 1936 photograph, Migrant Mother

She had a such a feeling of empathy and consideration for her subjects, that this enabled her to capture the hardships and pain in a way in a more intimate way than if she had been any other photographer.

Following America’s entrance into World War II, Lange was hired by the Office of War Information and photographed the internment of Japanese Americans.

Children at the Weill public school in San Francisco pledge allegiance to the American flag in April 1942

Lange was a superb photographer, and frequently frustrated by the fact that despite the visceral horrors her images portrayed, they had little effect in instigating any welfare changes. She was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for achievement in photography in 1941.

She died of esophageal cancer in October 11th, 1965.


If you’d like to read about more extraordinary women, why not buy the book Reaching the Stars, Poems about Extraordinary Women and Girls, by me, Jan Dean and Michaela Morgan – link below, press on book!





  1. Thea O'Brian

    All I can say is Wow! I really like your blogging theme you are going with!


    • Thanks, Thea, and your theme of old TV shows is very nostalgic!


  2. i admire dorothea lange and love her photography. thanks.


  3. I knew about her work when I was a girl because my parents had a book on all the pictures from Life magazine. She was a great photograher


    • She was – I love the picture in my head of you poring over that book, Birgit!


  4. Amazingly moving images! I didn’t know of a lady photographer. Thank you for introducing her to people like me.


    • It’s been a pleasure researching all of these women, Neha, some of the stories have been unbelievable, and all have been brave. I didn’t know at all about many of them, or knew their names but not the details – I’m glad now I know the details.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Powerful photographs, all the better for being in monochrome.


    • It does seem to concentrate the reality somehow!


  6. That photograph of the migrant mother is such a haunting, evocative image! This was an interesting introduction to such an iconic photographer!


    • Thanks, Modern Gypsy! You can see suffering in her face, can’t you.


  7. An inspiring woman with brilliant intentions. Those photos help her subjects to be remembered and still feel real to us.


    • And yet there are tragic and horrifying photos of Syrian children, blasted by bombs, orphaned, hungry, and still countries round the world are fighting to keep them out and in one case crowing over dropping larger and larger bombs on them.


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