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More Than Meets the Eye

Activity 1

More Than Meets the Eye

Documentary photographer Dorothea Lange had a favourite saying: “A camera is a tool for learning how to see without a camera.” And perhaps no one did more to reveal the human toll of the Great Depression than Lange, who was born on this day in 1895. Her photographs gave us an unflinching — but also deeply humanizing — look at the struggles of displaced farmers, migrant labourers, share-croppers and others at the bottom of the American farm economy as it reeled through1 the 1930s.

Lange worked for the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s, chronicling rural poverty across America and the agency’s efforts to provide relief. Her most famous photo is often referred to as “Migrant Mother.” Shot in 1936 at a campsite full of unemployed pea pickers in Nipomo, Calif., the image features Florence Owen Thompson, a poor farmworker flanked by two of her seven children. [...]

But you don’t need to read Lange’s notes to sense this desperation. So much is conveyed in the worry etched2 on Thompson’s face, worn far beyond her 32 years at the time the photo was taken.

Before she began documenting the travails of the poor, Lange was a portrait photographer for the well-to-do in San Francisco. So she knew that images of individuals would have far more emotional impact than those showing barren3 landscapes [...].

“How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity”, NPR, Maria Godoy, 2015.

1. struggled to survive 2. engraved 3. sterile

©2015 National Public Radio, Inc. News report titled “How Dorothea Lange Taught Us To See Hunger And Humanity” by Maria Godoy as originally published on on May 26, 2015, and is used with the permission of NPR. Any unauthorized duplication is strictly prohibited.

Get ready! Find a word in the text corresponding to each of the following words.

a. in English:
1) proverb (n.) ➜
2) wealthy people (n.) ➜
3) be at the side of (v.) ➜

b. in French:
1) soulagement (n.) ➜
2) fournir (v.) ➜
3) bilan (n.) ➜
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a. Read the text. Find all the farming tasks referred to in the article and match them with the definitions below.

1) Lend a hand during the harvest ➜
2) Help to harvest fruit and vegetables ➜
3) Work mostly in the fields, tilling the land and sowing ➜
4) Breed and raise cattle, grow vegetables and cereals ➜

b. List all the words related to “The Great Depression”. Then sum up the period in American history this corresponds to.

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a. Pick out information related to each topic.

Dorothea Lange Migrant mother

b. What is the journalist’s opinion about Dorothea Lange? How can you deduce this?

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Let's recap! Dorothea Lange: photographer, historian, artist. Introduce Dorothea Lange in a brief radio piece based on this title.

Useful vocabulary: First of all... Besides... In addition to this... On top of that… As an artist / historian... Dorothea Lange… In her capacity as photographer...

Enregistreur audio
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