Dorothea Lange’s Indelible Photos of Struggle and Survival Are Newly Archived Online

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

The faces, places, and politics of Dorothea Lange’s photos during the Great Depression, Japanese American incarceration, Jim Crow, and other eras of inequality have echoes today, not just in the conditions she captured but in the strength of people she met. More of her work is now online, thanks to the Oakland Museum of California, whose team has digitized her archives. Her greatest themes are powerfully presented, from wealth inequality to wartime challenges, strategies for survival, and resilience. She overcame hurdles of her own, contracting polio at 7 years old and getting stranded in San Francisco after a robbery that took everything. But nothing kept Lange from her focus. She was the first woman awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in photography, and she gave it up to take a job documenting history in the field.

Lange called herself a journalist first, artist second, but she embodied the storytelling creativity and brilliance of both. Drew Johnson, the museum’s curator of photography and visual culture, tells the San Francisco Chronicle that Lange “hoped her photography would encourage empathy, motivate you to do something about [challenges in the world] and create a popular movement to relieve people of suffering.” Lange’s legacy is right this way (the museum’s archives) and here and here (glimpses from Mother Jones’ archives). Thoughts about her impact? We’re at recharge@motherjones.com.

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate