David Fincher Producing a Biopic About Great Depression Photographer Dorothea Lange

     July 28, 2011


Angela Workman is currently working on a script for executive producer David Fincher that centers on the life of American photographer Dorothea Lange.  According to Variety, the biopic will chronicle “[Lange’s triumph] over physical disability to capture iconic images of unemployed workers and dispossessed farmers during the Great Depression.”  As legend has it, the photographs inspired John Steinbeck as he wrote The Grapes of Wrath.

Leslie Dektor is on board to direct the indie.  David B. Ginsberg (Get Low) is also producing.  Hit the jump for more on Lange.

Here’s the Wikipedia rundown:


With the onset of the Great Depression, Lange turned her camera lens from the studio to the street. Her studies of unemployed and homeless people captured the attention of local photographers and led to her employment with the federal Resettlement Administration (RA), later called the Farm Security Administration (FSA)…

From 1935 to 1939, Lange’s work for the RA and FSA brought the plight of the poor and forgotten — particularly sharecroppers, displaced farm families, and migrant workers — to public attention. Distributed free to newspapers across the country, her poignant images became icons of the era.

Lange’s most famous photo is titled “Migrant Mother” (pictured below).  Years later, she explained her thought process when she took the photo:

I saw and approached the hungry and desperate mother, as if drawn by a magnet. I do not remember how I explained my presence or my camera to her, but I do remember she asked me no questions. I made five exposures, working closer and closer from the same direction. I did not ask her name or her history. She told me her age, that she was thirty-two. She said that they had been living on frozen vegetables from the surrounding fields, and birds that the children killed. She had just sold the tires from her car to buy food. There she sat in that lean-to tent with her children huddled around her, and seemed to know that my pictures might help her, and so she helped me. There was a sort of equality about it.


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