Dorothea Lange is a social realist photographer and photojournalist known for her compelling and poignant studies of sharecroppers, migrant workers, and other marginalized people during the Great Depression. From 1935 to 1939, Lange photographed poor, itinerant farm families under the auspices of the Farm Security Administration. Her documentary photographs, especially the iconic image Migrant Mother, put a human face on the economic realities of the Depression. In 1952, Lange co-founded the photography magazine Aperture with Minor White, Ansel Adams, Barbara Morgan, Nancy Newhall, and Beaumont Newhall. Lange continued her commitment to social realist photography throughout her life, shooting incisive photo essays on subjects including rural Ireland, the forced internment of Japanese-Americans following the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Midwestern utopian communities, and the post-war suburban sprawl of California. In 1940, Lange became the first woman to receive a Guggenheim Fellowship.
Her work is in the collections of museums worldwide and she is widely recognized as one of the most significant photographers of her generation. The Dorothea Lange Archive, containing negatives for over 25,000 images and a selection of her personal papers, is maintained by the Oakland Museum of California.