Dorothea Lange was born in 1895 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Herfamily had come from Germany to the United States as immigrants. WhenDorothea was seven years old, she suffered from polio. In 1907, her fatherleft her family. And soon, her mother became an alcoholic. Dorothea waslonely in high school until she began studying photography.
At the age of twenty-three, Dorothea left home, and in 1918, began anaround the world trip. She taught Ron Partridge photography and peoplestarted calling him her “assistant.” Ron Partridge recalls that she wasvery determined not to stop her work.
Dorothea Lange is best known for her work during the GreatDepression. Other things she photographed were children, ships, theDepression, and many others. She also photographed Mormon communities.
During her years in photography, she traveled to Asia, South America,Egypt, and India. She married Maynard Dixon in 1920. Her marriage lasted fifteenyears and in 1935 she divorced him. However, while on assignment in NewMexico, she remarried to Paul Taylor. In 1939, she began her first major project. Later, she worked for theFarm Security Administration. However, much conflict arose and in 1940she was dismissed for the last time.
In the 1950’s and 60’s Dorotheas’s husband, Paul, spent six monthsphotographing developing countries and Asia. Dorothea began havingreoccurring ulcers. She was diagnosed with cancer of the esophagus. Whenshe was in the Near East she caught malaria.
Ansel Adams described her as a difficult woman who wasopinionated, impatient, and willful. A woman who defied the social genderexpectations. Her last project was entitled, “Dorothea Lange Looks at theAmerican Country Woman.” Dorothea can definitely be described as someone who stood up forwomen and knew that women could do anything anyone else could do.
Dorothea once said, “We need to be reminded these days about what womenhave been and can be, it’s a question of their place in society. The reallydeep and fundamental place in society.”On October 11, 1965, Dorothea Lange died at the age of seventy.