Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895-October 11, 1965) was an influential documentary photographer. Lange is best known for her Depression-era work for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). Lange's photographs humanized the tragic consequences of the Great Depression and profoundly influenced the development of documentary photography.
Born in Hoboken New Jersey, Lange began her career in New York, later migrating to San Francisco where she opened a portrait studio in 1918. With the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street.
Her searing studies of homelessness immediately captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the FSA. From 1935 to 1940, Lange's work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten, particularly displaced farm families and migrant workers, to public attention. Distributed free of charge to newspapers across the country, her poignant images quickly became icons of the era.
In 1941, Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for excellence in photography. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, she gave up the prestigious award to record the forced evacuation of Japanese-Americans (Nisei) to relocation camps in the American West.
On October 11, 1965, Lange died in San Francisco at the age of seventy.