Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning on American Masters

Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning on American Masters

Friday, August 29 at 9:00 p.m.

Her celebrated photograph “Migrant Mother” is one of the most recognized and arresting images in the world, a haunting portrait that came to represent the suffering of America’s Great Depression.

Yet few know the story, struggles and profound body of work of the woman behind the camera: Dorothea Lange (May 26, 1895 – Oct. 11, 1965).

"Dorothea Lange: Grab a Hunk of Lightning," a new "American Masters" documentary, explores the life, passions and uncompromising vision of the influential photographer.

Her images document five turbulent decades of American history, including the Great Depression, the Dust Bowl and World War II Japanese American internment camps. Peabody- and five-time Emmy award-winning cinematographer Dyanna Taylor — the granddaughter of Lange and writer/social scientist Paul Schuster Taylor — directs and narrates this intimate film.

Top photo: Dorothea Lange, 1937. Photo Credit: Paul S. Taylor, 1936

At right: Dorothea Lange’s celebrated photograph “Migrant Mother” is one of the most recognized and arresting images in the world, a haunting portrait that came to represent the suffering of America’s Great Depression. The Library of Congress caption reads: "Destitute pea pickers in California. Mother of seven children. Age thirty-two. Nipomo, California." Pictured: Florence Owens Thompson with three of her children. Photo Credit: Dorothea Lange, 1936