The White Angel BreadLine photograph taken by Dorothea Lange in San Francisco makes me feel sadness and a bit of chaos. The black and white add to the loneliness I am getting from this man. By turning away from the group of men that surrounds him, he allows a break in pattern. From the other men, we can only see their backs and their hats. As for this man, we see his frown on his face, his dirty hat, and his hands folded while he waits silently with an empty cup to get food. There are leading lines that are also slightly diagonal, and these lines are produced by this fence where the man is resting his arms on.
The Migrant Mother photograph depicts exhaustion and strength. The exhaustion can be seen through her face and as the kids lean on her for support and comfort. Being a mother holds a lot of responsibilities and she has to care for them. The rough edges of her clothes also show that they aren’t well off, but she works hard. Her face almost seems angry like she still has things left to do. There is a feeling of determination to finish something left pending. I think what resonates more is that the two children are leaning on their mother but their heads are turned away. The baby in her arms has its eyes closed and could only lean on her, too.
Well, like the video states, a photograph doesn’t represent someone’s entire life. It can represent a momentary moment in their life, like a slice of life. The mother wasn’t really a pea picker and her children saw their mother differently then what many Americans saw, but it was the way the photograph came across that many Americans held onto the belief that the Great Depression was a harsh period. Even though the mother wished she didn’t take the picture, there was benefit done. She wasn’t a pea picker but her photograph allowed food to be brought to the pea pickers. It reminds me of how much a photograph can say by the way someone looks, and what their eyes depict, or even their face expression.
Your observation that the man facing us in the White Angel Bread Line photo breaks the pattern is a good one. Remember that leading lines need to lead to something. the lines of the fence serve to confine the men. I wouldn’t say that they lead to the main subject though.
I agree that the photo shows both exhaustion and strength. Mostly through Florence Thompson’s expression though as you say her clothes tell us a lot as well.
So the photo can at the same time be untruthful and do good.