Sometime an image can be so powerful, so moving it inspire an author to write a back story. That’s what the famous image taken by photographer Lange (Dorothea Lange) of Migrant Mother named Florence Owens Thompson did for John Steinbeck. It inspired him to tell these people’s story. Florence Owens Thompson is the real life Ma Joad.
The pictures captured the true essence of these people lives. Many may have thought they were sitting on a porch. I know I did. But they aren’t. They are living under a dirty, tatterdemalion of a tent. Neither did I know there was a baby in her lap. Believe it or not, the mother is only 32 years old.
Here’s the iconic image which everyone knows. The others are part of the series. Sadly, the woman had the most recognized face in America but it did nothing to aid her terrible situation. The Migrant Mother image made Dorothea Lange’s reputation, helped earn her a Guggenheim fellowship, and conferred fame and a permanent place among the hallowed halls of American photographers. Lange certainly deserved her success; she had an eye, talent, training, and drive. Yet it seems unjust and unfair that Migrant Mother, one of the most successful, iconic photographs in American history, helped so many others to fame and fortune, but did nothing for the woman whose face and body were able to express so much pain, agony and humiliation in such a humble and humanity way.