Week 1: 'The Global Image'

In this forum activity, students had to select an image that addressed the 'theme' of a global image and state the reason for choosing it. I selected Dorothea Lange's 1936 'Migrant Mother' photo of Florence Thompson and her three children during the depression.

Figure 1: Lange Dorothea 1936. Migrant Mother

As a parent I feel a deep connection to Lange’s “Migrant Mother.” Lange’s ability to capture humanity’s challenges with consciousness made this photo relatable on every level whether you are a parent or not. The strong but helpless expression of Florence Thompson is a stark reminder of what happens during wars and economic crisis. The extract below explains what lead to Lange capturing one of the world's most unforgettable global images.

“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. Something beckoned her to postpone her journey home and enter the camp. She was immediately drawn to the woman and took a series of six shots - the only photos she took that day. The woman was the mother of seven children and on the brink of starvation.After returning home, Lange alerted the editor of a San Francisco newspaper to the plight of the workers at the camp, presenting him with two of her photos. The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included Lange's images. As a result, the government rushed a shipment of 20,000 lbs. of food to the camp. The photos' wider impact included influencing John Steinbeck in the writing of his novel The Grapes of Wrath.” [Eye Witness to History. 2016]


Figure 1: LANGE, Dorothea. 1936. 'Migrant Mother' [online]

The Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Reading Room

Available at: https://www.loc.gov/rr/print/list/128_migm.html [accessed on 23/09/2016]

Migrant Mother, 1936. 'Eye Witness to History.' Available at: www.eyewitnesstohistory.com 2005. [accessed on 23/09/2016]

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