Dorothea Lange

BIOGRAPHY

1895-1965


Dorothea Lange is one of the best of the American photojournalists.  Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, she was abandoned by her father and contracted polio at the age of seven.  Both events left her scarred for life.  The polio left her lame.  She worked in the photography studios of Arnold Genthe and Charles H. Davis and attended Clarence White’s photography class at Columbia University.  She moved to California where she opened a portrait studio in 1919, which failed during the Depression.  Lange’s imagery potently illustrated the plight of American lives disrupted by economic hardships.  In 1935, she joined the federally sponsored Farm Security Administration, working with such notables as Arthur Rothstein, Carl Mydans, Walker Evans and Ben Shahn.  While many of her images are iconic, one, Migrant Mother, is without equal.  Many critics consider it the most important American photograph of the twentieth century.  In 1945, she was invited by Ansel Adams to join the faculty of the first art photography department at the California School of Fine Arts.  In 1952, Lange co-founded the photographic magazine Aperture.