Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Remember Dorothea Lange? That's her on the car, 1936.

Her parents named her Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn at birth. She dropped Margaretta and assumed her mother's maiden name after her father abandoned the family when she was 12 years old -one of two traumatic incidents in her early life. The other was her contraction of polio at age seven which left her with a weakened right leg and a permanent limp. "It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me and
humiliated me," she said of her altered gait. "I've never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it."

- studied photography with Clarence H. White at Columbia U
- was commissioned by the Farm Security Administration to take photographs of migrant workers and displaced families during the Great Depression
- was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1941 and gave it up for an assignment with the War Relocation Authority to record the forced evacuation of Japanese Americans to relocation camps, particularly Manzanar
- was forced by the U.S. Army not to show her internment camp pictures
- married the painter Maynard Dixon in 1920 and had 2 sons -one in 1925, the other in 1929
- divorced Maynard Dixon in 1935 and married Paul Schuster Taylor, prof. of economics at UC Berkeley
- was invited to teach photo at the California School of Fine Arts in 1945
- co-founded Aperture in 1952
- suffered with ulcers and post-polio syndrome
- died of cancer on October 11, 1965, at age 70
- has been honored through the naming of a school in Nipomo, California, near where she photographed Florence Owens Thompson, "Migrant Mother".

Her work can be viewed through the U.S. National Archives and The Bancroft Library


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