Discussion Questions for Dorothea Lange’s – Migrant Mother
• Who is in this picture? How do you think they are related? What do you see in the picture that gives you clues?
A woman and her two children. The two boys body language of resting and cling to the woman gives the clue that the woman is their mother. Their heads turned away can be interperated as the two boys hanging on their mother for guidence through a hard/tough time they are going through. They all have run downed clothing on and unkempt hair which also gives one the clue that this picture was taken in the Great Depression.
• How would you describe the woman's expression?
The woman's face is stoic and strong, yet is filled with imence emotion: of frustration, stressed, a bit of dispair and a sense of being lost at the time.
• What does the woman's gesture tell you about how she is feeling?
She seems to be thinking about what she can possibly do.... pondering.
• Do you think Lange posed the two older children to face away from the camera? If you think she did, why would she have done this?
I feel like this is a candid shot that captured these three people in a moment of time during the Great Depression. It shows a portrait of a real woman and her story going through the hardships of Great Depression.
• How do you think the public responded to this photograph when it was published in a newspaper?
• Years later, Florence Owens Thompson did not want this picture published anymore because she felt it labeled her as "poor" when she no longer was. If it had been up to you, would you have honored her request? If a subject agrees to be photographed, should they be able to control how the photo is later used?
I think you should always respect your subject and they should have the overall say in what happens to the photograph in the end because it is ultimatly their face and their identity that is being portrayed.