J.R. Butler, by Dorothea Lange

The photograph “J.R. Butler” is a work by Dorothea Lange, depicting the president of the Southern Tenant Farmer’s Union. Lange is known for her powerful images documenting American life during the Great Depression, and this photograph is another representation of her significant body of work.

In the photograph, a man is seen directly gazing at the camera with an intense and somewhat weary expression. He has pronounced lines on his face, which indicate strength and perhaps the hardships endured. His hair is slicked back, and he has a thin, prominent mustache. He is wearing a light-colored, long-sleeved, collared shirt paired with a diagonally striped tie. The image is monochromatic, displaying a high contrast that casts dark shadows and highlights the rugged features of his face. The background appears to be a textured wall, possibly weathered or aged, matching the raw and candid quality of the subject’s demeanor. This straightforward and unembellished portrait captures a moment teeming with the subject’s character and suggests a narrative about his life and the time he lived in.

Other Photographs from Dorothea Lange

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