“Hope” – the great photographs of Dorothea Lange

My fourth album “Heading West” is an interpretation of the landscape and peoples of the American west through the senses of a travelling Brit.  I wanted to express the emotions of my experiences and to convey the character of the places that I visited, although some of the music I composed turned out to be more abstract than that.

One example of this is my song “Hope”.  I’ve had some really lovely comments about this song which is always nice because you never know whether or not what you are doing is perhaps a cliche – the listener always decides this of course.  “Hope” is not easy to describe, which is why I gave the song that title after I had composed and recorded it – if one word can describe an abstract thing like a piece of music, then “Hope” was it in this instance.

When it came to putting together a video for this song, I started trawling aimlessly on the internet looking for inspiration.  It wasn’t long before the amazing photographs of Dorothea Lange jumped out at me as the perfect representation of what the song is about.

Dorothea Lange (1895 – 1965) was an amazing American documentary photographer and photojournalist, best known for her depiction of the Great Depression era which affected the world in the decade immediately preceding World War II.  Lange’s photographs humanized the consequences of the Great Depression in the American west and documented the migration of so many people intent on finding work and a place for themselves and their families.

In 1941 Lange was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her excellence in photography.

The picture on the video thumbnail is entitled Migrant Mother, and the woman is Florence Owens Thompson.  Look her up on wikipedia, the story of how the picture came to be taken and of her life is fascinating.  I hope you like the video and the music.

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About Mike Howe

I am an ecologist and a composer of guitar based instrumental melodies signed to the Real Music label in California. I like to write about my work, music and nature conservation and how it all comes together. I try not to write about things I don't know much about.
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