Dorothea Lange: Seeing People

Dorothea Lange: Seeing People

Dorothea Lange: Seeing People

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


Dorothea Lange was a pioneering American documentary photographer and photojournalist. Her work during the Great Depression era and World War II has left an indelible mark on the history of photography. Lange had a unique ability to capture the essence of people, their struggles, and their triumphs through her lens.

The Power of Photography

Photography has the power to freeze a moment in time, to capture raw emotions, and to tell stories that words alone cannot convey. Dorothea Lange understood this power and used it to shed light on the human condition. Through her photographs, she gave a voice to the voiceless and brought attention to social injustices.

Documenting the Great Depression

One of Lange’s most iconic photographs is “Migrant Mother,” taken in 1936 during the Great Depression. The image depicts a destitute mother with her children, their faces etched with hardship. This photograph became a symbol of the struggles faced by many during that era.

Empathy Through the Lens

Lange’s ability to empathize with her subjects allowed her to capture their humanity in a profound way. She spent time getting to know the people she photographed, understanding their stories, and capturing their essence with compassion and respect.

World War II and Beyond

During World War II, Lange turned her lens towards the internment of Japanese Americans. Her photographs documented the injustice and the impact it had on the lives of those affected. Lange continued to photograph various social issues throughout her career, leaving behind a powerful body of work.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What was Dorothea Lange’s most famous photograph?
  2. Dorothea Lange’s most famous photograph is “Migrant Mother,” taken during the Great Depression.

  3. How did Dorothea Lange approach her subjects?
  4. Dorothea Lange approached her subjects with empathy and spent time getting to know them before capturing their photographs.

  5. What social issues did Dorothea Lange document?
  6. Dorothea Lange documented various social issues, including the Great Depression, World War II, and the internment of Japanese Americans.


Dorothea Lange’s work continues to inspire and captivate audiences around the world. Through her photographs, she was able to see people and their stories in a way that few others could. Her ability to capture the essence of humanity serves as a reminder of the power of photography to create empathy and understanding.

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