In 1942, shortly after the U.S. entered World War II, President Roosevelt issued Executive order 9066, which declared areas of the country military zones. This led to the forced relocation of Japanese-Americans to internment camps. The U.S. War Relocation Authority hired photographer Dorothea Lange to document the relocation process in the Pacific Coast area.

Lange’s earlier work documenting displaced farm families and migrant workers during the Great Depression did not prepare her for the disturbing racial and civil rights issues raised by the Japanese internment. Lange quickly found herself at odds with her employer and her subjects’ persecutors, the United States government.

To capture the spirit of the camps, Lange created images that frequently juxtapose signs of human courage and dignity with physical evidence of the indignities of incarceration. Not surprisingly, many of Lange’s photographs were censored by the federal government, itself conflicted by the existence of the camps.

Over 100,000 Japanese American men, women, and children were relocated and detained at these camps. ( )… This internment is now recognized as a violation of their human and civil rights. In 1980, the US government officially apologized and reparations were paid to survivors.

The true impact of Lange’s work was not felt until 1972, when the Whitney Museum incorporated twenty-seven of her photographs into Executive Order 9066, an exhibit about the Japanese internment.

ASX Magazine

Migrant Mother

Deemed the one photograph that gave a face to the Great Depression, legendary photographer Dorthea Lange snapped this shot in 1936 of a pea-picking migrant worker and her children in rural California. The woman in the picture’s name is Florence Thompson, mother of seven whose husband died of tuberculosis. The family sustained themselves by eating birds killed by her children and vegetables taken from a nearby field.

Rule of Thirds

‘Dorthea Lange’

You can see the imaginary lines if you look closely. The top-left corner is the kid on the top left. The top-right corner is the top of the hat the man is wearing (most likely the father). On the other hand the bottom-right corner is located at the shoes of the same man. The bottom-left corner is the black box on the road. 

For me the primary focus is the man since he is emphasizing himself by doing such things as wearing a hat. Also he is at the front meaning that he looks bigger than the others which helps gather the attention to himself. I believe the secondary focus would be the small black box on the road. Although it is small it has a huge difference in color than the road which makes you notice the object. Also notice how the baby is staring at it. This emphasizes the box since the baby could know something that we don’t since the box is pitch black.

This picture shows: contrast (through the shadows and color), space, variety (items on the carriage, people), emphasis (man and box)

This pictures has: value (since its grayscale), texture (grass on the hills), color (grayscale), shapes (black box)

This picture is an angled shot looking down (15 degrees?), bird’s eye view (since we’re looking down), medium shot, natural lighting (no flash), action shot (since they’re moving), canted shot (they’re off center)