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Russell Lee

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Russell Lee

American, (1903–1986)
Russell Werner Lee (born July 21, 1903 - August 28, 1986) was an American photographer and photojournalist regarded for his work with the Farm Security Administration documenting rural communities affected by the Great Depression alongside Dorothea Lange, Arthur Rothstein, and Walker Evans. The goal of his documentary photography was to familiarize Americans with the plight of farmers and migrant workers left destitute in the wake of the Dust Bowl and the Depression. Lee is known for the iconic images he produced during his time with the FSA, such as his photographic studies of San Augustine, Texas in 1939 and Pie Town, New Mexico in 1940. He was additionally employed to document the eviction of Japanese Americans from their homes on the West Coast of the United States and their forced relocation into internment camps.

After the FSA was dissolved in 1943, Lee continued his career as a photojournalist, documenting airfield approaches used by the ATC to supply the Armed Forces in World War II and assisted the United States Department of the Interior in compiling a medical survey of the communities affected by the mining of bituminous coal. He later moved to Austin, Texas where he became the first instructor of photography at the University of Texas.


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