Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California

1936 in Nipomo
Dorothea Lange

'Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California' by Dorothea Lange, 1937. This was taken for The Farm Security Administration, c. 1935-1945. The woman, 32, was living in a tent with her children in freezing conditions in a pea-pickers camp in Nipomo Valley, California. She had just sold the tyres from her car to buy food.

Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) was one of the most important documentary photographers of the 20th century. Along with Walker Evans, Lange worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA) during the Great Depression in 1930s America.

The FSA was established to help combat rural poverty, and the photographs Lange and Evans produced helped to bring the plight of poor and dispossessed farm workers and their families to public attention. Lange's photograph, Migrant Mother, Nipomo, California is the seminal image from the period, and is an icon of the era. It has become one of the world's most reproduced photographic images, its emotional impact resting on a universal understanding of the mother and child relationship, and the commonality of experience between human beings.


Object Number:
silver gelatin print
The National Media Museum, Bradford
Permanent collection

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