ICON | Dorothea Lange

photo by Rondal Partridge, Farm Security Administration 1936

Richard K. Doud: It seems to me that at that time photography would be a very unlikely choice for a woman to suddenly decide to pursue, because I don't think that photography was really that commonplace when you decided to become a photographer.

Dorothea Lange: [My] family thought that the quickest way for a woman to earn a living was to go into teaching, which I didn't want to do at all. I didn't argue it; but my mother and grandmother used to use the phrase, "But it's something to fall back on," you know. And that, I think, is a detestable phrase for a young person. I decided, almost on a certain day, that I was going to be a photographer.

An excerpt from an oral history interview with Dorothea Lange, May 22, 1964, courtesy of the Archives of American Art, Smithsonian Institution.

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