New Life

"What the caterpillar calls the end of the world, the Master calls a butterfly." Richard Bach

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Migrant Worker

Photo credit
 I haven't been able to get this picture off of my mind.  I am captivated.  We are almost finished with a year long American History picture study and this week we happened upon

The Migrant Worker.....

This large picture was up in our house all week, but it wasn't until after the picture study that I even noticed the small baby in her arms.

Dorothea Lange's account:
"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." (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).
The caption on Shorpy reads 
"Destitute pea pickers living in tent in migrant camp. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two." Nipomo, California. February 1936. Photograph by Dorothea Lange.
"The anonymous subject of this famous Depression-era portrait known as "Migrant Mother" came forward in the late 1970s and was revealed to be Florence Owens Thompson (click for interview). She died in 1983."

We are learning about this time of The Depression, the dust bowl, unemployment, and real, authentic poverty.  Ms Lange helped shock America into seeing the horrors of it; people couldn't believe that this was really happening in the prosperous U.S.

I keep looking into her eyes, her anxious hand up at her mouth, and wonder what she was thinking.

I am grateful I don't have to think those thoughts.


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Cheryl @ On the Old Path said...

That image cuts to the heart doesn't it. I can't imagine the weight she carried on her own to provide for her little ones. It puts things into perspective doesn't it. I am following now, feel free to check out my blog

Shannon said...

What an incredible photo, very telling!

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Beauty and the Green said...

This picture is so hauntingly sad. As a mother myself I couldn't imagine the stress and emotional trauma she endured. Thank God most of us do not have to go through this.

Thank you so much for visiting and following my blog, i came here to return the favor but discovered that I am already following you! All the best.

Nekky said...

Only a hard hearted person would not be touched by the sight of this picture. I grew up in a country where you hear and see things like this on a daily basis. I'm always thankful to God for his Divine Favours in my life. Wonderful post.
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Nekky said...

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Meg said...

We are studying American History this year too(Core 100 and 3+4). We came upon this photograph in History of US book by Hakim. I couldn't seem to turn the page. It drew me in and somehow I could feel her suffering through the photo. Thanks for the link. I enjoyed reading more about her.

Christina Parker Brown said...

Thank you, Meg.

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