Russell Lee

Russell Lee was a photographer best known for his compassionate and unaffected images of everyday Americans during the era of the Great Depression. Lee initially used photography to refine his skills as a painter, but he soon recognized it as a powerful medium for social documentation. After his work was featured in several magazines, he was hired by the Resettlement Administration (later renamed the Farm Security Administration), a federal government-relief program established, in part, to document the conditions of farmers and urban workers at the peak of the Great Depression. Living out of his car, Lee photographed life in twenty-nine states between 1936 and 1942, capturing 19,000 images of such diverse subjects as migrant laborers, rice farmers, and sharecroppers.

Source: SFO Museum, Library of Congress