Oakland Museum of California Launches Dorothea Lange Digital Archive
Though rooted in historical events, Lange’s photographs make powerful connections to important themes and events of today. Above all, they demonstrate how empathy and compassion—focused through art—can sway minds and prompt change. Supported by government programs and new picture magazines like LIFE, Dorothea Lange and other photographers of the 1930s and '40s created an indelible record of everyday life in difficult times. The Great Depression caused many photographers to consider the camera as an instrument of social change. Foremost among this group was Berkeley photographer Dorothea Lange, whose intimate pictures of people in distress were driven by a deep personal empathy. She continued her intensely personal work after the Depression, creating series on the forced relocation of Japanese Americans during World War II, Irish country life, and postwar suburban California, among many other projects.
The Oakland Museum of California houses Dorothea Lange’s personal archive, a gift from the artist that includes 25,000 negatives, 6,000 vintage prints, field notes, and personal memorabilia. OMCA’s archive is the most complete collection of Lange’s work anywhere. Curators and researchers from around the world visit the Museum to access the Lange collection and much of that collection is now available to view online for free!
Visit the Dorothea Lange Digital Collection.