|The Migrant Mother Sequence|
This sequence of 6 photographs should exemplify the process a photographer
goes through to come out with such a dynamite image, that is, the image on the
bottom right, entitled "Migrant Mother"(California, 1936).(To see a larger version of it, please
click on the image). It is evident that from the first to
the last image, Lange had moved in closer, and created an emphasis
on the mother. Even (by the final image) hiding the faces of the two children
who cower on her shoulders.
In fact, we see that the family may have been as big as seven total--there
are six figures in the
second image (top center), and the father, who Lange photographed later, is
absent from all of these images. Lange has manipulated her subjects,
to imply that a poor mother with two children (an average amount) will
be capable to lead her family(doesn't her face express it?) out of
their state of suffering, into the more prosperous
future, if she is given the chance.
Stryker said of this image:
When Dorothea took that picture, that was the ultimate.
She never surpassed it. To me it was the picture
of Farm Security.
She has all the suffering of mankind in her, but all
the perserverance too. A restraint and a strange courage.
I do not know what type of camera Lange used here; like Evans, she uses
sharp focus, but both Lange and Evans were technical experts anyway.
I think it is more important, as far as comparing her photographs to Evans',
to recognize the "future-orientation" of "Migrant Mother"--and how she had to
shoot a sequence before getting what she wanted. (I do not, in any way, mean
to degrade Lange's ability as a photographer; I do, however, mean to show the
subjective nature of this image, as opposed to Evans' objective style.)
Also, it is worthy to
note how much Stryker emphasises
that this image serves as the paradigm of the entire FSA collection.