Dorothea Lange began her career in photography in New York City in 1914 where she worked for photographer Arnold Genthe and studied with Clarence White. Lange left New York and opened her own portrait studio in San Francisco in 1919.
In 1935 she was hired by Roy Stryker for the Farm Security Administration based on work she had done with the economist Paul S. Taylor, whom she later married. Lange worked for the FSA periodically until 1939.
Between 1946 and 1951 Lange was photographically inactive due to illness. After 1951 she worked on several projects, including "The Irish Country People", "The Public Defender", and "The American Country Woman". She also traveled and photographed in Asia, Europe, and Egypt.