SHORPY Historic Photo Archive & Fine-Art Prints
The Shorpy Archive
9000+ fine-art prints suitable for framing. Desk-size to sofa-size and larger, on archival paper or canvas.
Join and Share

Support Shorpy

Shorpy is funded by you. Help by purchasing a print or contributing. Learn more.

Social Shorpy


Join our mailing list (enter email):

Member Photos

Photos submitted by Shorpy members.

Colorized Photos

Colorized photos submitted by members.

About the Photos

Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

© 2019 SHORPY INC.

[REV 25-NOV-2014]

JUMP TO PAGE   100  >  200  >  300  >  400  >  500  >  600

Trunk Show: 1936

Trunk Show: 1936

Feb. 1936. "Drought refugees in California." Dust Bowl migrants photographed by Dorothea Lange for the Farm Security Administration. View full size.

On Shorpy:
Today's Top 5
To stay online without a paywall or a lot of pop-up ads, Shorpy needs your help. (Our server rental alone is $3,000 a year.) You can contribute by becoming a Patron, or by purchasing a print from the Shorpy Archive. Or both! Read more about our 2019 pledge drive here. Our last word on the subject is: Thanks!

Depression years

I've been in my own depression years both emotionally and financially so I know the look on those faces. My heart goes out to them and I hope they found a way out eventually as I did. Times like that are hard on a man but more so on a women who has the natural desire to have a home and keep it warm and cozy for her family. Living in dirt is hard and uncomfortable in a lot of ways. Constantly traveling to find work is discouraging and maybe a place to put down roots again would be a deep longing for them. On the other side of the story, my mother lived through the great depression but it didn't leave much of an impression on her. Not everyone was affected with dirt and poverty even though she lived through some serious dust storms. My dad's experience was a bit different. He was a farm boy and told me they lived off the land, my grandfather lucky to have two nickles to rub together for 9 children and a wife. My grandmother had small pox over her entire body while she was delivering her 10th child. I can't even begin to imagine what life was like back then nor do I try to.

Master of Composition

Whenever I look at the examples of the FSA photographers that appear here on Shorpy, I am always struck by Dorothea Lange's mastery of composition. Her photographs draw the eye in immediately, and deliver an emotional response in the viewer that all of today's digital magic cannot reproduce. I certainly don't mean to be dismissive of the other 10 FSA photographers. I find Jack Delano's railroad photos to be awe inspiring at times. And Russel Lee and John Vachon have created memorable images as well. But when it came to photographing people, Lange seemed to have an eye for composition and exposure that was above the others.

Depressing Depression

From what I can tell, the baby is clinging to her mother who appears to have another one on the way. The Grandmother and the younger sister don't seem to be enjoying themselves either. If they stayed in California, their lives probably improved.

Brave people

Yeah, they look down, but they don't look out. Dorothea Lange had a genius for finding the heart and soul of Depression America.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

Syndicate content RSS | Contact Us | Privacy Policy | Photo Use | © 2019 Shorpy Inc.