The Road West / Highway to the West, U.S. 54 in Southern New Mexico
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© Oakland Museum of California, the City of Oakland

Dorothea Lange
American, negative 1938, print 1965
Gelatin silver print
7 3/8 x 9 3/8 in.

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Dedicated to using the camera toward social ends, Lange spent several years documenting Depression-era conditions. In her efforts to record the effects of the economic decline on migrant labor, Lange here focused on a western expanse dominated by Highway 54. Stretching deep into the distance through a seemingly desolate landscape, the road was one that many families took west on their exodus from rural dust bowl conditions in Oklahoma.