Most of Lange’s photos were published anonymously, and when she died in 1965, few people truly recognized her talent and contributions. As a result, most people today recognize Migrant Mother, but not Lange’s name. Lange often said a single image was an idea, two grouped together were a phrase and five or more became a sentence. People might recognize Migrant Mother but by Lange’s determination, it is just one word. This exhibition will provide sentences.
Drawing upon vintage prints, unedited proof sheets, personal memorabilia and historic objects, this exhibition takes a unique approach and will be the first to examine the extraordinary emotional power of Lange’s work through the lens of social and political activism. Visitors will read Lange’s words and hear her voice. They will learn about her process and approach; the difference between looking at something and truly seeing it; and leave the exhibition with a better appreciation of her artistry and advocacy, as well as an increased awareness of the ways photography can be used to sway minds and prompt change. In an age of cell phone cameras and social media, a critical and informed awareness of the power of photographs has become an obligation of citizenship.