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Dorothea Lange (1895–1965)
Where a Fellow Can Start on the Home Team and Wind Up in the Big League, from the series "This Is America," 1942
photomechanical lithograph
91.4 x 61 cm (36 x 24 in.)
National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, gift of the Sheldon-Claire Company
photographed by Terry McCrea

After her seminal work for the Farm Security Agency and her development of documentary standards as applied to rural conditions in the United States in the 1930s, Dorothea Lange went on to work for other government projects. The appropriation of original black-and-white photographs for color images became common practice for her photographs in the public domain.

Here the sentiment about "big league" opportunity may have been a quotation from a participant. Lange believed that social programs could change the lives of ordinary Americans.

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Biography of Dorothea Lange

Dorothea Lange was determined to be a photographer before she had a camera. Rather than follow her mother's wishes that she train as a school teacher, Lange apprenticed herself in a series of New York studios, including that of Arnold Genthe. Her plan to travel around the world in 1919 was thwarted when her money was stolen. Stranded in San Francisco, she soon found photographic work and connections to the Bay area camera clubs. But the major direction of her photography, through which she documented the lives of rural American workers, their families, and their living conditions, when she began to see the demonstrations and bread lines of the new poor from her Montgomery Street studio in the 1930s. Together with labor economist Paul Taylor, soon to be her husband, she produced illustrated reports on migrant camps for the State of California, and then the Farm Security Administration in Washington, D.C. Her work in black and white was often selected to represent technical and aesthetic standards of this agency under the direction of Roy Stryker.

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