Influential American photographer and photojournalist, Dorothea Lange, captured society and humanity in the 1930's. Working primarily during the Great Depression, Lange's photographs humanized the consequences of the social and economic climate and influenced the development of documentary photography in subsequent years. Through her personal views of the great depression, and the era, Lange endeavored to show the struggle and resilience of people enduring the events of the time. Evident in the works 'The Migrant Mother' and 'Unemployed Lumber Worker', Lange used photography to capture real life, as it happened. Through the use of black and white photography, Lange portrays humanity in crisis and in triumph. .
Dorothea Lange captured life with a camera; she wanted to depict the essence of suffering and enduring, to society during the era of the Great Depression. She had an attachment to the gravity of the issues, as she was part of that era and saw what chaos and misery is caused from the social and economic decline. She appreciated and witnessed the aguish and humanity that many migrant farmers and society in general were faced with. Social Realism was the art movement in which she was part of during the Great Depression from 1930 to 1940. It was an international art movement, and refers to the work of painters, printmakers, photographers and filmmakers who draw attention to the everyday conditions of the working classes and the poor, and who are critical of the social structures that maintain these conditions. Her photographs show her respect for her subjects' dignity in the face of often unbearable circumstances Her work was also devoid of aesthetic concerns, like all other social realists, the importance of realism was greater than creating works of beauty or grandeur. Works such as the compelling Migrant Mother (1936) became a symbol of the Great Depression. The Migrant Mother is a captivating black and white snapshot photograph.