Near Buckeye, Maricopa County, Arizona, Migrant African-American Cotton Picker and Her Baby


This photograph, taken by Dorothea Lange (1895-1965) in late 1940, depicts a migrant from the South and her baby on an Arizona cotton farm. Lange was one of the most important American photographers of the 20th century. After apprenticing in New York City, she moved to San Francisco and in 1919 established her own studio. During the 1920s and early 1930s, she worked as a portrait photographer. In 1932, wanting to see a world different from the society families she had been photographing, she began shooting San Francisco's labor unrest and urban unemployed. In 1935, she accepted a position as a staff photographer with the Federal Resettlement Administration, later renamed the Farm Security Administration. Her new job took her to the South, where she documented small towns, the lives of tenant farmers, and experimental agricultural communities. Returning to the West, she focused on the lives of migrant workers. In 1940, Lange was hired by the Bureau of Agricultural Economics to produce photographs for a series of community studies in California and Arizona.

Last updated: December 18, 2013