Oxford School of Photography

insights into photography

Tag Archives: Dorothea Lange

1930s ‘Killed’ photographs The American Great Depression — excised.

As found on Mashable

The photos look just like the most famous FSA images of Depression-era America. Laborers with weathered faces stare into the distance, sharecropping families stand on splintered porches and rag-clad children play in the dust.

But each picture is haunted by a strange black void. It hangs in the sky like an inverted sun, it eclipses a child’s face, it hovers menacingly in the corner of a room.

The black hole is the handiwork of Roy Stryker, the director of the FSA’s documentary photography program. He was responsible for hiring photographers such as Dorothea Lange, Walker Evans, Arthur Rothstein and Gordon Parks and dispatching them across the country to document the struggles of the rural poor.

Stryker was a highly educated economist and provided his photographers with extensive research and information to prepare them for each assignment. He was determined to get the best work possible out of his employees — which also made him a bit of a tyrannical editor.

When the photographers returned with their negatives, Stryker or his assistants would edit them ruthlessly. If a photo was not to his liking, he would not simply set it aside — he would puncture the negative with a hole puncher, “killing” it.

killedphotos-22

FSA/8a16000/8a162008a16217a.tif

killedphotos-34

killedphotos-27

killedphotos-8

killedphotos-10

killedphotos-45

see the full article and many more images here

other associated posts

Migrant Mother – Dorothea Lange the story of a picture

Photographing the Great Depression, then and now – Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange ……..the greatest American documentary photographer

 

 

…….and six other shots that shook the world

From The Guardian

While stories of people drowning at sea as they flee to Europe has been a staple of news reporting this summer, it is this heartbreaking picture that has shocked the country into action. Charities have seen donations soar, petitions have been signed and marches planned since it was published – while, in the face of mounting pressure, David Cameron has finally agreed to taking more Syrian refugees. But this is not the first time a photograph has changed the course of world events.

much of what follows is difficult to look at

Phan Thi Kim Phúc

Nick Ut's shot of Kim Phúc, 1972
If the horrors of war can be distilled into one image, it might be the 1972 picture of nine-year-old Kim Phúc, screaming as she flees the napalm explosion that has burnt the clothes from her body. Nick Ut’s black-and-white photograph swayed US public opinion against the war, and helped to bring it to an end within six months of publication. After taking the shot, Ut threw a raincoat over Phúc and drove her to hospital, saving her life.

Vulture stalking child

Kevin Carter's shot of a vulture watching a starving child, 1 March 1993 in Sudan
Kevin Carter’s 1993 photograph of a starving Sudanese child being stalked by a vulture caused mass uproar. The macabre picture highlighted the despair and severity of the famine, but criticism centred on Carter. He was vilified for not going to the child’s aid – despite the fact that journalists were told not to touch famine victims for fear of spreading disease. Carter won a Pulitzer prize for the image, but killed himself just months later.

Little Rock

Elizabeth Eckford in Little Rock
Elizabeth Eckford was 15 and painfully shy when she became one of nine black schoolchildren in Arkansas to be enrolled in Little Rock Central High School in 1957 following a ruling that ended the segregation of schools in the US. On the first day of school, Eckford arrived to find the doors barred to her by soldiers of the National Guard, and a mob of classmates and parents screaming at her. The teenagers were eventually accompanied inside the school by the soldiers, but not before they had endured physical attacks and even death threats. This was the image that made sure desegregation went ahead.

Tank Man

Jeff Widener's shot of Tiananmen Square, 5 June 1989
No one knows what happened to the solitary man who stood before the tanks of Tiananmen Square, but his image, taken by Jeff Widener, broadcasted the brutal massacre by the Chinese army. Around a million protesters were said to have joined the call for economic and political reform in China in 1989, with student demonstrators occupying Beijing’s famous square. But on 3 June, the military opened fire on those who had gathered, rolling over others with their tanks. The government branded the demonstrators rioters and banned this image. But outside China, it has endured, ensuring that the courage of the unarmed protestors will not be forgotten.

Abu Ghraib

Abu Ghraib torture
Unlike other world-changing pictures, these are not beautifully composed, arresting photographs taken by professionals, but grainy spur-of-the-moment snaps. Capturing the degrading torture and humiliation of Iraqis by the American soldiers who took the pictures as “trophies”, their publication severely damaged the credibility of US troops. The abuse uncovered after they were published fuelled anti-US anger and undermined Washington’s claims to be bringing freedom and democracy to the Middle East.

 

Migrant Mother

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California, 1933, by Dorothea Lange
In 1936, Florence Thompson was 32, a widow and worked as a farm labourer. Her husband had died of tuberculosis, and she was the sole provider for her seven children. When her car broke down, she ended up out of work with other labourers on a pea-picking farm, selling her tyres to buy food. Her children were killing birds to survive, and eating frozen vegetables dug from the nearby field. Photographer Dorothea Lange asked to take her picture to illustrate the plight of the pea-pickers. The picture became a symbol of the human suffering in the Great Depression, and the federal government sent 20,000lb of food to California migrant workers.
A paramilitary police officer carries the lifeless body of Aylan Kurdi after the boat carrying his family to the Greek island of Kos capsized near the Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday 2 September.
Looking at this picture, it’s impossible not to imagine your own child – or any child you love … a paramilitary police officer carries Aylan Kurdi near the Turkish resort of Bodrum on Wednesday 2 September. Photograph: AP

Migrant Mother – Dorothea Lange the story of a picture

Probably one of the most famous images of depression era America, this image by Dorothea Lange sticks in the memory of everyone who has ever seen it. This is the story of that picture.

dorothea

The image of a worn, weather-beaten woman, a look of desperation on her face, two children leaning on her shoulders, an infant in her lap; has become a photographic icon of the Great Depression in America. The photo was taken in March 1936 at a camp for seasonal agricultural workers 175 miles north of Los Angeles by Dorothea Lange. Lange was working for the Farm Security Administration as part of a team of photographers documenting the impact of federal programs in improving rural conditions.

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…...read the rest of this story here

Florence Owens, the woman in the picture also has a story, here is that story Written by  Roger Spraque grandson:

She came to California some 15 years before, to a land of promise – a promise which, for her, had not been kept. In 1922 she had come, with her husband Cleo Owens and her three children. Her name was Florence and she was just 21 years old.

Her first house was in Shafter, California. Though it was small and poor, it was as much as she had in Oklahoma. But this place and these times held a promise of something more for her and her family. To own her own home, to raise her kids and give them more than she had, to live the American dream.

There was work in the mills and factories of California for Cleo. He was a frail man, light of build and weak of breath ever since a childhood fever scarred his lungs, making them a target for any germ that happened along, His only excesses were a tendency to overwork himself to provide for his family, and his deep, deep love for Florence.

Cleo had married Florence over the objections of his own family, who all felt that Florence was too headstrong. They all predicted that the marriage would fail, a “bad sin in 1917. A woman was there to raise the kids and do as she was told by her husband. Florence, in contrast, was only 17 when she informed Cleo’s family that they would never rule her or her kids. She loved Cleo, but she was who she was, and that was that! (Cleo’s people knew that Florence was a full blood Cherokee Indian, but they probably did not know that she was the granddaughter of the Indian renegade outlaw Ned Christy, who had died in a shoot out with a whole posse rather then be subdued by any man.)

In 1924 Florence and Cleo moved to Porterville, some 50 miles north of Shatter, where he and his brothers had found good work at good wages in the sawmill. But in 1927 the mill burned so they moved 125 miles further north to Merced Falls. There was no “Falls”, but there was a sawmill, a strong river to carry logs down from the hills, and the prettiest little town they’d ever seen…..MORE

 

1000 photography links, tutorials, photographers, new camera reviews – posts

Would you believe that in the last 20 months we have made 1,000 posts about photography, wow seems like it was only a few weeks ago we dipped our toes into the world of blogging. Urged on by our favourite music blogger The Recommender to get stuck in, to share our knowledge and passion about photography; to spread the word and to bring the best photographs, photographers, tutorials, camera reviews, information about exhibitions and the wonder of the world of photography to those who care, you. Since October 2010 we have had over 120,000 views, our highest day was 957, I guess we must be doing something right some of the time.

©Steve McCurry – this is probably The Great Steve’s most famous picture but you should go and see his other work start here

We have had a look at our stats and rather encouragingly find that there is as much interest from you in the fantastic photographers we have brought to your attention as there is in cameras and tutorials. A good healthy mix we think.

Here is a list of the top 12 posts the highest has got over 6,000 views

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/03/10/top-10-compact-cameras-2011/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2010/12/14/light-painting/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2012/03/14/photographer-nan-goldins-best-shots-from-the-guardian/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/07/27/duane-michals-sequences/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/12/06/best-superzoom-bridge-cameras-2011/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/04/14/15-digital-point-and-shoot-cameras-used-by-pro-photographers/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2012/02/10/nikon-d800-review/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/18/cecil-beaton-photographer/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/09/05/steve-mccurry-london-exhibition-07092011-24092011/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/11/04/20-free-photography-ebooks/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2011/01/24/9-crazy-cross-eye-3d-photography-images-and-how-to-make-them/

https://oxfordschoolofphotography.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/google-photography-prize-winner-viktor-johansson/

The top aggregated photographer, that is the most views across all the posts we have made is Steve McCurry this link should get you to all the articles where we have mentioned Steve

The interesting thing we have found is how many of you are interested in the less obvious photographers, Duane Michals comes top for visits to a single post, Cecil Beaton, Nan Goldin and Dorothea Lange all feature heavily, I am sure you never thought you would see those 4 names in the same sentence.

Top camera before and after it’s release was the Nikon D800

The most viewed tutorial was on Light Painting

Our most favourite sources for finding the best photography on the web, and in no particular order are:

Lightstalking, fantastic for tutorials, tips, ideas, features

Digital-Photo-School similar to Lightstalking and also from Australia

Cambridge In Colour for the most sophisticated and intelligent tutorials

The Denver Post for some of the best photojournalism around

The Atlantic, same as The Denver Post, fantastic images from around the world

The British Journal of Photography, just the most complete magazine for photographers

The Pixelated Image blog, David DuChemin is just the man, what a photographer an eye with soul

Photo Tuts for Photoshop and Lightroom tutorials

DP Review, where you find out about cameras, the best review site

Steve’s Digicams, as DP Review a great place to find out about cameras

Tripwire Magazine, we like this for general articles on photography

Magnum, the world’s most famous photo agency, we love this bit Magnum In Motion

Photography Served, a place for finding new photographers with great work

Photography Now, such a beautiful site showcasing the works of the masters of photography

There are undoubtedly lots more we could include here but if you are a regular to our site you will know who we love as inspiration and as a source of great articles.

We have had such great response to the articles we post, the sharing is the thing, finding what is wonderful and putting it out there. We greatly appreciate hearing from you and would welcome more ‘finds’ from you, would consider articles or portfolios you may wish to share with the thousands of like minded people we reach. Here is to the next 1000 posts

Keith Barnes, Oxford School of Photography

Seeing Pictures – a course in Composition In Photography

Many of our students take our Composition – Seeing Pictures course after completing either of our DSLR courses (the 4 session or 1 Day version). It seems a natural extension from learning about how your camera works to learning about how to see and take better pictures.

As Dorothea Lange said “The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera”

The course is not just about the design rules that dictate some forms of photographic composition because rules and laws are there to be broken. We do look at the ways that photographs can be read to be better understood. In pursuit of this each class is arranged around the work of a prominent, some might say, masters of photography. People whose work is so lauded that not to use them as a basis for understanding photographic composition would be a failure. We can learn so much by looking at and understanding the photographs of the best practitioners of our art and craft, learning by looking helps us to see.

“Many thanks again for another fantastic course it has filled many a gap in my knowledge and helped me no end”

“I also did the seeing pictures course in October and will certainly be recommending both to anyone who’ll listen!”

The next course starts 6th October, 4 sessions, 2 hours each the cost £80

More information here

 

Dorothea Lange ……..the greatest American documentary photographer

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) has been called the greatest American documentary photographer. She is best known for her chronicles of the Great Depression and for her photographs of migratory farm workers. Below are pre-World War II photographs, taken for the U.S. Farm Security Administration (FSA), investigating living conditions of families hired to work in cotton fields and farms in Arizona and California. Many of the families had fled the Dust Bowl, the lengthy drought which devastated millions of acres of farmland in Midwestern states such as Oklahoma.

Lange was educated in photography in New York City, in a class taught by Clarence H. White. She was informally apprenticed to several New York photography studios, including that of the famed Arnold Genthe. In 1918, she moved to San Francisco, and by the following year she had opened a successful portrait studio. She lived across the bay in Berkeley for the rest of her life. In 1920, she married the noted western painter Maynard Dixon

With the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street. Her studies of unemployed and homeless people captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

In December 1935, she divorced Dixon and married agricultural economist Paul Schuster Taylor, Professor of Economics at the University of California, Berkeley. Taylor educated Lange in social and political matters, and together they documented rural poverty and the exploitation of sharecroppers and migrant laborers for the next five years — Taylor interviewing and gathering economic data, Lange taking photos.

From 1935 to 1939, Lange’s work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten — particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers — to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, her poignant images became icons of the era

Lange’s best-known picture is titled “Migrant Mother.” The woman in the photo is Florence Owens Thompson.

In 1960, Lange spoke about her experience taking the photograph:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.

In 1941, Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in photography. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she gave up the prestigious award to record the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to relocation camps, on assignment for the War Relocation Authority (WRA). She covered the rounding up of Japanese Americans and their internment in relocation camps, highlighting Manzanar, the first of the permanent internment camps. To many observers, her photograph of Japanese-American children pledging allegiance to the flag shortly before they were sent to internment camps is a haunting reminder of this policy of detaining people without charging them with any crime or affording them any appeal. 

Her images were so obviously critical that the Army impounded them. Today her photographs of the internment are available in the National Archives on the website of the Still Photographs Division, and at the Bancroft Library of the University of California, Berkeley.

Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – October 11, 1965)


Walker Evans

“Stare. It is the way you educate your eye and more”
Walker Evans