Doomstead Diner Menu => Geopolitics => Heroes of the Revolution => Topic started by: RE on June 18, 2020, 03:47:02 AM

Title: Great Journalists Official Thread
Post by: RE on June 18, 2020, 03:47:02 AM
Eddie put up a thread a week or so ago where we listed some of our favorite historical Journalists.  I am putting up this thread for all Diners to list Individually their favorite Journalists from history.  I am going to start this thread with Dorothea Lange, a Photojournalist and one of the best there ever was.  She had NO "training" or "education" to do what she did, and she was a Cripple like me.  She is one of my true HEROS. She chronicled the Great Depression in Photographs as effectively as John Steinbeck did in prose.



Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn was born on May 26, 1895, at 1041 Bloomfield Street, Hoboken, New Jersey[2][3] to second-generation German immigrants Heinrich Nutzhorn and Johanna Lange.[4] She "grew up on Manhattan’s Lower East Side ... and attended PS 62 on Hester Street, where she was one of the only gentiles — quite possibly the only — in a class of 3000 Jews."[5]

She had a younger brother, Martin.[4] She dropped her middle name and assumed her mother's maiden name after her father abandoned the family when she was twelve years old, one of two traumatic events early in her life.[6] The other trauma was her contraction of polio at age seven, which left her with a weakened right leg and a permanent limp.[2][3] "It formed me, guided me, instructed me, helped me, and humiliated me," Lange once said of her altered gait. "I've never gotten over it, and I am aware of the force and power of it."[7]

Lange graduated from the Wadleigh High School for Girls,[8] and although she had never operated or owned a camera, she was adamant that she would become a photographer upon graduating from high school.[9] Lange was educated in photography at Columbia University in New York City in a class taught by Clarence H. White.[9] She was informally apprenticed to several New York photography studios, including that of the famed Arnold Genthe.[6] In 1918, she left New York with a female friend to travel the world, but was forced to end the trip in San Francisco due to a robbery, and settled there, working as a photograph finisher at a photographic supply shop,[10] where she became acquainted with other photographers and met an investor who aided in the establishment of a successful portrait studio.[3][6][11] This business supported Lange and her family for the next fifteen years.[6] In 1920, she married the noted western painter Maynard Dixon, with whom she had two sons, Daniel, born in 1925, and John, born in 1930.[12]

Lange's early studio work mostly involved shooting portrait photographs of the social elite in San Francisco.[13] At the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her lens from the studio to the street. Her photographs during this period bear kinship with John Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath.[14]

In 1933, at the height of the Depression, about fourteen million people were out of work. Many of them drifted aimlessly, with no place to live, many times without food. In addition, the dust storms of the Midwest created economic havoc. About 300,000 men, women and children came to California in the 1930s, hoping to find work. These migrant families were routinely called "Okies" regardless of where they were from. They traveled in beat-up cars, wandering from place to place, following the crops. Lange began to photograph these people from her studio window. Later, she left the studio so she could photograph them in the streets of California. Lange felt she had, at last, found her purpose and direction in photography. She roamed the streets with her camera, portraying the extent of the social and economic upheaval of the Depression. She was no longer a portraitist. Neither was she a photojournalist. She became known as a "documentary" photographer.[15]

Her studies of unemployed and homeless people, starting with White Angel Breadline (1933), which depicted a lone man facing away from the crowd in front of a soup kitchen run by a widow known as the White Angel,[16] captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA).

Lange learned to talk to her subjects when photographing them, which helped her to accompany her photographs with pertinent remarks. The titles of her works often were very personal and revealed a lot about her subjects.[15]