Editor’s Note: The late Dorothea Lange was an ASMP Member.
Cross-posted from The New York Times, and the New York Times Magazine. [By Arthur Lubow and Alice Gregory] “The fame of ‘Migrant Mother’ has cropped Lange’s reputation unfairly. She is a key link in a chain of photographic history. From Evans, she learned how to frame precise images of clapboard churches. But unlike Evans, who usually preferred to keep a distance and capture a building’s architectural integrity, Lange always wanted, as she said when describing how she made ‘Migrant Mother’ to move ‘closer and closer.’ Her 1938 photograph,’Death in the Doorway, ‘of a church entrance in the San Joaquin Valley reveals a blanketed corpse that someone, probably unable to afford a burial, has deposited. Evans would never have gone there.
In turn, Lange was revered by the documentary photographers who followed her. The greatest of them, Robert Frank, paid her direct homage in ‘The Americans,’ shooting from the same vantage point the New Mexico highway that Lange had memorialized in ‘An American Exodus.’