Making Migrant Mother

You probably know of Dorothea Lange’s famous 1936 photograph “Migrant Mother” (aka Florence Owens Thompson), an icon of the Great Depression. Perhaps you don’t know, as I didn’t, just how much the photo was staged and later altered.

Evan Puschak of the video series The Nerdwriter breaks down the photo’s origin, the alterations (ghost thumb!), and the other photos from the session (h/t Kottke):

4 responses to “Making Migrant Mother”

  1. This smug narrator might have more of my sympathy if he had not himself manipulated his own presentation with those inane shutter noises and some manipulative choice of words.

    Was good to see the other photos, though.

    1. Huh, I had a totally different interpretation of the narrator and video. To me, manipulation in service of an argument is the point of essays (video or otherwise), so the shutter noises and choice of words made it that much more compelling and dynamic compared to a dry stating of facts. But your mileage may vary.

      1. Yeah, I guess that’s why he did it.

        Generally, I love your blog and I follow you. And I’m on my local library board, so dedicated. Keep it up.

        1. Thanks for following and for your library work!


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