"Migrant mother" de Dorotea Lange

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La “Madre migrante” es una de las fotos más conocidas del s. XX. Representa una época (la de la Depresión en Estados Unidos) y, también, representa la apertura de una nueva era en el reportaje fotográfico de carácter social. Por primera vez la sociedad miraba cara a cara a la pobreza y la desolación que estaba causando la crisis económica, que ya duraba siete años, a través de la cámara de Dorothea Lange.

El éxito de la foto tiene que ver con su contexto histórico y su utilización, pero, también, con su indudable calidad artística. En cuanto a composición y contenido, la imagen es paralela a la de las Vírgenes renacentista; sólo que ahora la Virgen es sustituida por una madre sufriente con tres niños.

La foto fue tomada en 1936 en algo parecido a un campo de refugiados: eran los campos que albergaban a trabajadores agrícolas con poco o ningún trabajo. En este caso, se trataba de un campo de recogedores de guisantes que llevaban tiempo sin trabajo, en Nipomo (California). Muchos de estos trabajadores habían perdido sus granjas y tierras y se trasladaban de un punto a otro de los Estados Unidos, buscando trabajo. En la novela y la película “Las uvas de la ira” (muy, muy recomendables) se puede apreciar cómo vivían estas personas.

La madre y sus siete hijos habían sobrevivido durante el invierno comiendo vegetales congelados. Acababan de vender las ruedas de su coche para poder comer, por lo que estaban “anclados” al campo.

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