Dorothea Lange: Oregon During the 1930s Great Depression

“Migrant Mother”, Dorothea Lange, California, 1936

Dorothea Lange, one of my favorite photographers, is famous for several iconic images, “Migrant Mother”, California, 1936, being one of the most famous.

Dorothea Lange at work in California.

The U.S. Government sent out several photographers to create images that would be used to raise funds for Farm Security Administration to assist farm workers and their families who had been displaced by the Great Depression.

Schoolgirls studying, Lincoln Bench School, Malheur County, Oregon, Dorothea Lange, October 1939

Dorothea Lange and Ansel Adams are two of the best known photographers involved in this project. Lange spent part of her time in Oregon as part of the project.

Fairbanks Family, Malheur County Oregon, Dorothea Lange, October 1939

As always, Lange brings to her images an artistic eye and a keen sensitivity to her subjects.

Eleven-year-old boy picking hops, Polk County, Oregon, Dorothea Lange, August 1939.

Lange kept field notes on her images. For this photo of a farm boy picking hops she wrote: ““Migratory boy, aged eleven, and his grandmother work side by side picking hops. Started work at five a.m. Photograph made at noon. Temperature 105 degrees. Oregon, Polk County, near Independence.”

Girls working as Bean Pickers, Marion County, Oregon, Dorothea Lange, August 1939

That Oregon Life has put together a nice collection of Lange’s images made in Oregon in the 1930s. You can see all of them here.


This is What Oregon Looked Like in the 1930s Great Depression