Shot in 1937 as part of Dorothea Lange’s ongoing work with the Farm Security Administration (FSA), Mail boxes in Bell County, Texas depicts five mailboxes, three of which were no longer in use by the time this photograph was taken. Those decommissioned boxes represent the tenant farmers who were gradually being replaced by tractor farming. Committed to shining a light on the state of poor and displaced farming families, Lange dedicated over five years to documenting the lives of migrant workers in rural America. While striving to portray these lives accurately and objectively, most of Lange’s photographs—including Mail boxes—are steeped in emotion, going on to become symbols of rural society during the Great Depression.
Like so much of her work, Mail boxes is a testament to Lange’s ability to marry tremendous artistry and tenacious journalism in equal measure. In this case, a beautifully balanced, engagingly active composition transforms dust-laden inanimate objects into something dynamic. The horizontal planes of the image are divided into relatively equal slices of sky, mailbox, field, and road, keeping the eye tracking up and down. In a modernist move, Lange shot from an unusual angle that gives her subjects a human-like presence. One mailbox faces us open, agape like a mouth on a quizzical visage. If we follow this personification to see where it leads, you might imagine the abandoned mailbox asking what happened to our livelihood?
+ Limited-edition, exclusive to 20x200
+ Museum quality: archival inks, 100% cotton rag paper unless noted
+ Handcrafted custom-framing is available
Our quoted dimensions are for the size of paper containing the images, not the printed image itself. We do not alter the aspect ratio, nor do we crop or resize the artists’ originals. All of our prints have a minimum border of .5 inches to allow for framing.
Hahnemuhle Fine Art Baryta
8"x8" | edition of 10
11"x11" | edition of 250
16"x16" | edition of 25