Dorothea Lange at 119
Dorothea Lange died on 11 October 1965. Today would have been her 119th birthday. Born in Hoboken, New Jersey, Lange became one of the pioneers of documentary photography. Some of her most well-known work was set in the American West, including her photographs during the Great Depression and WWII.
In March 1942, Dorothea Lange—already a well-known photographer—was one of several hired by the War Relocation Authority (WRA) to photograph the removal of Japanese Americans from the West Coast documenting their transportation into “assembly centers” and then more permanent “relocation centers.” In 1942 and 1943, Lange traveled hundreds of miles, attempting to follow individuals through the experience, spotlighting families and shooting over 800 images of this sad chapter of American history. Ultimately, Lange was required to turn over every negative to the WRA and her photographs were marked “Impounded” and remained unseen for decades.
A selection of these photographs can be seen in our current special exhibit, From Barbed Wire to Battlefields: Japanese American Experiences in WWII and on our companion website in our Dorothea Lange image gallery.
Happy Birthday, Dorothea Lange. Thank you for these images.
Post by Curator Kimberly Guise.