Posts Tagged ‘Digital Media’
Most of us are familiar with Dorothea Lange’s Migrant Mother photograph. The symbolic photo correctly titled of Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California is the inspiration for Mary Coin. (Marissa Silver. Blue Rider Press, NY, 2013.)
Silver weaves together the a fictionalized story of Mary Coin (Thompson), Vera Dare, a photographer modeled after Lange, and Walker Dodge, a contemporary cultural history professor in California. Dodge challenges his students to “see” photos and look beneath the layers. The fictional characters are connected when Dodge discovers a copy of the photo after his father’s death.
Silver’s story moves back and forth between the depression era and the present, creating a vivid and somber picture of life for migrant workers. It is a memorable novel, worth more than 1000 words.
Lange’s photos are accessible through the Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. An overview of the Migrant mother and other photos Lange took at the same time has a brief account of Lange’s experience on that day.
Lange’s photography was done for the Farm Security Administration. Many of her photos, along with others are easily accessible in Depression Era to World War II ~ FSA/OWI ~ Photographs ~ 1935-1945 an American Memory Collection of over 160,000 items and 1600 color photographs. The Teachers Page has related teacher and classroom ready resources.
A Dorothea Lange archive collection is available through the Oakland Museum of California
Learn more about challenging your students to see photos and other ideas for using primary sources in your classroom:
Teaching Digital Media Literacy in the Content Areas: Using Primary Sources
Above: Migrant agricultural worker’s family. Seven hungry children.
Mother aged thirty-two. Father is native Californian. Nipomo, California