“I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.”
Dorothea Lange on her photo of 32-year-old mother of seven Florence Owens Thompson inside a pea-picker’s camp in Nipomo, CA
Though parts of Dorothea’s account were disputed decades by Florence, there is no disputing the power of the photograph now knows simply as Migrant Mother. It’s a photo of dignity and humanity in the face of hardship during The Great Depression. It is an image that defined an era. An era so well cover in the PBS Ken Burns documentary The Dust Bowl.
Whether this Thanksgiving day is a feast or famine for you an your family I hope you have much to be thankful for.