DESPAIR IN HER EYES
This is Florence Owens Thompson,
32 years old, mother of 7,
finding herself in Nipono, California (1933)
having moved west, looking for work.
It was the Great Depression.
After driving across country,
looking for work,
her family's truck broke a timing chain,
as it coasted into a pea-picking farm in Nipono.
There were 3,000 others camped out in Nipono,
other families looking for work.
Unfortunately, a recent freezing rain storm
wiped out the entire pea crop.
So . . . no work.
The Farm Security Administration (FSA)
hired Dorothea Lange to photograph the
devastation of poor farming practices
which caused the "dust bowl" and
contributed to the Great Depression.
Ms. Lange captured the "despair in her eyes"
in this now famous photograph.
(This original photograph is now on display
at the St. Louis Art Museum,
and I was allowed to take this photo
with my own camera.)
Viewing the original Dorothea Lange print
was an emotional, haunting experience.
(Her photographs of the "dust bowl" farming disaster
helped increase awareness of the public,
and the U.S. Congress,
implementing New Deal programs
to rescue the American economy, and
the future of sustainable agriculture in America.)