Migrant Mother, Migrant Gender - Sally Stein

Migrant Mother, Migrant Gender - Sally Stein

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Migrant Mother, Migrant Gender: Reconsidering Dorothea Lange’s Iconic Portrait of Maternity

by Sally Stein

Published by MACK, 2020



’I contend that in close comparison with Marian icons, the reason why this photograph continues to command attention is that it is not so simple or familiar a variant of the holy family imagery as it first appears.’

Sally Stein is an American academic and cultural theorist who specialises in the history of photography and modern mass media. In this text she reconsiders photographer Dorothea Lange’s legendary portrait of maternity struggling to survive in the Great Depression. Comparing this modern emblem of enduring family values with Lange’s long-overlooked ‘Pandonna’ pictures of men as tender protectors of children, Stein proposes that Migrant Mother needs reconsideration as a disruptive image of women’s conflictual relation to home and the world.