Carl Mydans (1907 – 2004) became devoted to photography while in college at Boston University. While working on the Boston University News, he abandoned childhood dreams of being a surgeon or a boat builder in favor of journalism. His first reporting jobs were for The Boston Globe and the Boston Herald. After college, he went to New York as a writer for American Banker and then in 1935 to Washington to join a group of photographers in the Farm Security Administration. There he worked with Dorothea Lange and Ben Shahn to document the conditions of the American rural workers. In 1935, he traveled throughout New England and America's South, documenting the end of a rural-based economy and gained a measure of renowned for his images of bedraggled Arkansas farmers and their families. It was the Great Depression, and the poorest of America's poor were devastated by the economic downturn. In 1936, he joined Life as one of its earliest staff photographers and a pioneering photojournalist. (Photo shot in Washington DC, USA, 1935.)


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