Migrant Mother and The Great Depression. Blog #5

How would you feel if everything you owned, everything you ever worked hard for was gone? It wasn’t stolen from you, but you sold it… for food to eat.  How would you feel if your family was out on the streets because you couldn’t afford to live in your house? The tires on your car were sold; the couch you used to sit on is gone. You’re living a whole new life… a poor life.

In September of 1929, the stalk market began to crash and continued crashing down around everyone until there was nothing left in October 1929. Personal income, tax revenue, profits and prices dropped, while international trade plunged by more than 50%. Unemployment in the U.S. rose to 25%. All types of employment were hit hard during this time; heavy industry, construction was stopped, mining, logging, farming suffered as crop prices fell by 60%. All these jobs were no longer jobs. They didn’t exist anymore. Employees were now unemployed. This put people out on the streets with no shelter or food to eat.  Banks soon started closing their doors as well. After a few banks closed, the people got scared and withdrew all their money from the banks that were still open, forcing more banks to close. If you didn’t get to the bank to withdraw your money before they closed then you were left with nothing. This was just the start of the depression.

The people suffering because of the depression put much blame on President Hoover. They names many broke aspects of the depression after him;  the shantytowns were names  “Homerville’s”, newspapers were names “Hoverblankes”, pockets of pants turned inside out to show that they were empty were called “Hover flags” and broken-down cars pulled by horses were known as “Hoover wagons”. When election time came Hoover stood no chance against Roosevelt. When Roosevelt was elected he starts a new program called the “New Deal”. These were different programs that would help jobs reopen and so people can become employed. Although the “New Deal” was a great plan, things did not happen overnight. They took time, which still left people on the streets.

Dorothea Lange was a successful portrait photographer. However, like everyone else the depression affected her. But unlike most people, it affected her in a positive way. She took her camera from the studio out onto the streets. She captured history while it was happening. Lange had many photos of unemployed and homeless people. These photos got her employed by the federal Resettlement Administration, later known as the Farm Security Administration.

In February or March on 1936 Lange was driving in Nipomo, California. She same across a camp where many unemployed and homeless farmers were living.  She saw a woman and her children sitting underneath a tent. Lange became to take photos of this woman.  In 1960, Lange gave an account of this experience, “I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean- to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it. (From: Popular Photography, Feb. 1960).”

When Lange arrived home she alerted the editor of the San Francisco newspaper to the plight of the workers at the camp. She showed him two of her photos of the migrant mother and her children. The editor informed federal authorities and published an article that included Lange’s image. Once the government got word of this, they sent out a shipment of 20,000 lbs. of food to the camp.

This photo had such a great impact on the country during the Great Depression and it still has an impact on me. I saw this photo many years ago but I never know exactly what this photo really stood for until I took a beginning film photography class. I learned how film photographers didn’t have the luxury of taking as many photos as they like and deleting the ones they don’t like to make room for more with a single press of a button. I got to take my own film photos, develops them, go into the dark room and experience how difficult it is to actually make a decent photo.  It takes a lot of hard time and work. In doing these film classes and using these old fashion cameras, I have gained a lot of respect for old film photographers. I think that the most important lesson I learned is that when a opportunity arises you have to take it because it might not be there again. I think that is why Lange turned her car around after fighting with herself for so long. She knew in her heart that this may be a great opportunity to make a difference.   As for the picture itself, it taught me not to be selfish and greedy with the things that I have because one day I might not be able to have them again. I learned not to feel sorry for myself when things don’t go as planned. I have a roof over my head, food in my stomach, a job and I am in no worry of living on the streets. This photo to me means a lot more than I think that it was meant to. To me photo of the mother and her children show strength, love, support and courage for when times are tough. I feel that everyone might learn a lesson from this photo.

‘Migrant Mother” was a photo taken by Dorothea Lange in 1936 in California, USA.







Impressionism Blog #4

Impressionism is a 19th century art movement that started with a group of Paris-Based artists. The name arose from the title of one of Claude Monet work, “Impression , soleil levant”, 1872. Characteristics of impressionism painting are thin, small brush strokes, open composition, emphasis on light, ordinary subject matter, and unusual angles. Impressionist painters took their work outside to capture moments in time. They portrayed the overall visual effects in their paintings instead of the details. Unmixed and “pure” colors were used to achieve the effect of intense colors.

Although Impression was a big change to the visual art world, I think that I still enjoy other art better than Impression. My opinion is mainly based off of how detailed past artist were in their paintings verses how detailed art is with the Impressionist style. Take a look at the two paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi in my 2nd blog. Her paintings show great detail. You can see the splatter of blood all over the place. She used darkness to set the tone of the painting to emphasize that the murder is dark and mysterious. Past painting like Artemisia Gentileschi’s are very dramatic, vivid, and straight to the point. Impressionism art is different. It is more relaxed with less detail and almost peaceful.

Even though Impressionism art is not my favorite I do still enjoy it. Claude Monet is a great example of art that I do like from the Impressionism art. His 8 oil painting series “Reflection of Clouds on Water Lilly Pond, 1920”, done in Northern France, really makes me feel a part of the painting. I feel like I am sitting on a bench staring at the lily pads floating on the river. I really enjoy art like that, that makes me feel like I am there too.

Claude Monet, “Reflection of Clouds on Water Lilly Pond, 1920”





Beethoven, Symphony NO., 5 Classical Era Blog #3

Beethoven, symphony NO. 5,  composed between 1804-1808 in Vienna, Austria.

      Beethoven is one of the worlds most famous composers. He wrote 16 string quartets, 9 symphonies and 32 piano sonatas, which majority of them are still played today.

     This world famous composer started writing songs at a very young age. He gave his first performance at age 7 ½ at the Cologen. At age 12 Beethoven published his first work, 9 variations in C Minor for piano on a march by Earnest Christoph Dressler. In 1787, Beethoven was sent to Vienna to meet Mozart, and to further his musical education. From this time on Beethoven because very popular. He took many trips to Vienna to play for Prince Elector and learning new strategies for music.

     During this time his music was considered to be strange, overly extravagant and sometimes risque. He was a new and young composure that was already pushing the boundaries of music. Beethoven’s 5th Symphony is a great example of the change in music that happened during the Classical Era.

      In 1796, Beethoven started to loose his hearing. Around 1811 he became totally deaf. He contemplated suicide for a while because he couldn’t handle the thought of living without composing music. However, he decided against it and continued to compose. He continued to compose music but he never preformed again after his failed attempt to preform his own Piano Concerto NO. 5 (the Emperor). He died in 1827 from the flue.

     “Beethoven was born only six years before the American Revolution and nineteen years before the French. All of Europe was in ferment, shedding a system of aristocratic government, replacing the authority of the nobility with the powerful economic clout of a rising middle class. Democratic ideals were in the air. Beethoven himself wholeheartedly subscribed to that, believing that Napoleon had come to liberate Europe. On arriving in Vienna, Napoleon’s forces bombed the city heavily, and a shaken Beethoven changed his mind (pianonose.com). Because of this Beethoven wrote music that was a major change to the Classical era. He wrote music that was was unusual, hard to repeat but easy to follow. Because of this, there was a liking of his music among the middle class.

     Symphony NO. 5 really caught my attention because it has a fast tempo, exciting feel, very dramatic and it keeps me guessing to what piece is going to happen next. It starts out fast, then slow, then it takes you on some twist and turns. I also really like the fast that Beethoven continued to compose music after he became deaf. This impairment stop him from doing what he loved to do. He thought about committing suicide but didn’t because he held on to his hope of hearing again. Even after he realized that he would never hear again he still decided that he can continue writing and enjoy life through his music, even if he can’t hear it being played.








Baroque Era Blog #2


          When I first saw paintings by Artemisia Gentileschi, I was instantly drawn to them. I simply just could not pick just one painting to focus on, so I picked two that told a story: “Judith Slaying Holofernes” painted from 1611-12 and “Judith and her Maidservant” painted from 1613-14. Both of these paintings were done in Italy.

          When I saw these paintings, I couldn’t help but ask, “What man in her life screwed her over?”. She painted gruesome painting of Judith and her maid slaying off Holofernes head, and carrying his head off in a basket. But what in her mind made her want to paint this scary biblical story?

          Artemisia Gentileschi was the daughter of a well-known Roman artist, Orazio Gentileschi. He taught Artemisia many techniques to painting. Later in her life she began studying under the care of her fathers close friend, Agostino Tassi. Shortly after Tassi was soon trialed for the rape if Artemisia. Could this be the cause of her hate-rid for men?

          The rape was very traumatic for her, as it would be for anyone else, but she didn’t let that stop her. However, it did impact her paintings. After the rape and the trial, her paintings became very graphic. She used her art as a way to cope with the physical and emotional pain of this time in her life. I feel, as well as many others, that she painted herself as Juidth and Agostino Tassi as Holofernes. Artemisia’s art work are very powerful women taking revenge on male evildoer as the Assyrian general Holofernes.

          In Artemisian Gentileschi’s time she became a very well known and famous artist. She was one of the first women artist to achieve recognition in the male-dominated world. She was the first woman to paint major historical and religious paintings.

          The Council of Trent, should be very proud of her work. The council have a few rules: be realistic, be clear with what you are describing, and have true biblical stories from the Catholic Church. Artemisia did these things along with using many beautiful techniques in these three paintings. The light to dark lighting was provides a dramatic tone. She used realistic figures as her main subjects, and she uses rich colors to grab your attention.

          I admire Artemisia for making a horrible situation turn into something that she can over come and learn from. I feel that everyone can learn from traumatic experiences in their life and they can gain something out of it like Artemisa did. Even though her art can be hate-rid for men, she has over come the male-dominated society and proved that she can become something of herself instead of a help-less rape victim. My overall like for her painting is much more than just a like in her are, but in herself as a person and the story she tells.