Dorothea Lange: Words & Pictures

Dorothea Lange. White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco. 1933 224

Gelatin silver print, 10 3/4 × 8 7/8" (27.3 × 22.6 cm). Gift of Albert M. Bender

Filmmaker, Dyanna Taylor: I'm Dyanna Taylor, a cinematographer and documentary filmmaker, and I'm Dorothea Lange's granddaughter. The White Angel Breadline helped the men in the Depression who were hungry and on the streets looking for work.

My grandmother had been a portrait photographer, and had a studio in San Francisco. Her studio was at a crossroads where she could look down and see the men drifting about down there.

She said, “I've got to go down there and challenge myself. I'm going to photograph this thing to see if I can grab a hunk of lightning."

This gentleman, with the cup that he's hoping will be filled with soup and his beaten hat, turned away from all the others, is very powerful.

She was a tiny woman and had a limp left over from severe polio when she was a child. She was carrying a heavy camera, and yet she somehow could blend in to a crowd. She had a magical way of doing that.

She never looked back after that. This really inspired her. Seeing that that photograph told a powerful story, I think moved her to leave her portrait studio work and turn to the streets.

0:00
2 / 15