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The Eyes of Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) with View Camera

Ever since I attended an exhibit of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s work at Dartmouth College in the mid 1960s, I have been a strong believer in the art of photography. Photographers like Ansel Adams, Walker Evans, Diane Arbus, Edward Weston, and Robert Capa have been like gods to me—as was Dorothe Lange. I present only two of her photographs here, but they speak mostly for themselves.

Migrant Mother, Nipomo, CA, 1936

This is Lange’s most famous photograph—one of the canonical images of America during the Depression years. I am amazed at the effect of her two older children averting their eyes from the camera while their mother contemplates her situation.

The Road West, U.S. 54 in Southern New Mexico

Once again, Lange draws beauty out of desolation in this stark image of a highway running straight through the New Mexico desert. U.S. 54 runs north/south through the heart of New Mexico, bypassing the White Sands Missile Range where the first atomic bomb was exploded in 1945. I have been through the area at least twice on my way to Capitan and Alamogordo, New Mexico.