Migrant family, photo by Dorthea Lange

This is one of Dorthea Lange’s FSA photos that I hadn’t seen before. I like the aesthetics (the cris-crossing musical-instrument vectors; the look of concentration on the mandolin-kid’s face), but more than that I appreciate its depiction of “dust bowl refugees” not just as weather-beaten victims, but as culture makers (and -keepers) in their own right. The photo is part of the recently-published paperback anthology Hard Luck Blues: Roots Music Photographs from the Great Depression.


“Migrant family from Arkansas playing hill-billy songs,” Farm Security Administration emergency migrant camp, Calipatria, California, photo by Dorothea Lange, February 1939 :: via the Oxford American,

Originally published at culture-making.com.

Add Your Comments