Listening to NPR. Piece on Depression photographer Dorothea Lange. Lange expert describes the so-called “Destitute Mother” photograph as iconic in that the woman pictured clearly exhibits anxiety about being dirt-poor, but is also “a very beautiful woman.”
The subject’s actual identity (Florence Thompson, age 32; had just sold the tires off her car to buy food so her kids wouldn’t have to eat frozen dead birds) is obscured by time and the American Artocracy’s mandate to de-dimensionalize women. Thanks to the universal plucky American spirit Thompson still managed to be hot enough enough to become the face of the Great Depression.