Rural Poverty In Dorothea Lange And The Dust Bowl

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Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein are two photographers during the depression in the 1930s who worked for the Farm Security Administration (FSA). The FSA used photography as a way to combat rural poverty by exposing the lives of Americans living in rural poverty to the masses. Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein photographed two different sociological conditions. Lange is most famous for photographing migrant workers while Rothstein is most famous for photographing the Dust Bowl. The Dust Bowl was a period of time where the prairies became victim to severe dust storms that greatly damaged the agriculture. These dust storms, largely due to severe drought and wind erosion, caused many farmers in the prairies to experience extreme poverty for as long as eight years. In an effort to escape the storms, starvation, and poverty many farmers and their families left their farms to look for work and food elsewhere as a means of survival. Migrant workers on the other hand were compromised by the overwhelming number of the unemployed during the depression. Largely these migrant workers worked as migrant farm workers planting and harvesting crops, moving throughout the seasons. Due to low wages, high poverty, and transient lifestyle migrant…show more content…
The photo became an icon of the Dust Bowl; showing a farmer and his two sons during a dust storm in Oklahoma. Very different from Lange’s method of documentary photography, Rothstein would be a director, recreating a dust storm. Photographing during a dust storm is not only dangerous but nearly impossible due to the low visibility. By staging the scene Rothstein is able to capture the impact of these storms on the land and people in safe conditions of low winds and high visibility. By asking people to reenact what they would have otherwise done in such a circumstance he is able to capture the unpredictability of these storms which caused immediate fear and
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