Photos: Dorothea Lange's Depression-Era Los Angeles
Esteemed photographer Dorothea Lange chronicled the Great Depression for the Farm Security Administration and created some of the most iconic images of America in existence. Lange, who passed away 51 years ago today, also spent time photographing Los Angeles during her government tenure, capturing downtown's Mexican and Chinese enclaves near the Los Angeles before they were razed to make way for Union Station. She also turned her probing lens toward the federal subsistence homesteads in El Monte and San Fernando on the outskirts of Los Angeles. The majority of these pictures were shot in February and March, 1936, when Lange was commissioned on a monthlong assignment to photograph California's rural and urban slums. She headed south to Los Angeles from Bakersfield in the last weeks of February, and described L.A. as a "vile town," in a letter to a friend. It was during this same trip that Lange shot her most iconic photograph "Migrant Mother" in Nipomo, California. The caption information comes from the Library of Congress, as do the photographs.