Migrant Mother Makeover

The April 2005 issue of Popular Photography included an article titled Can these photos be saved? about how to remove unsightly wrinkles from photographic subjects. The editors offered Dorothea Lange's famous Migrant Mother photo as an example of a photographic subject suffering from the signs of stress. The editors erased her wrinkles, softened her gaze, and removed her kids, transforming her from an iconic symbol of endurance into something closer to a smooth-faced, worry-free soccer mom. Readers were horrified. Hundreds of them wrote in expressing outrage that the magazine would think such a classic image needed to be saved. To which the editors replied: Look at the date it was published!