Surveyor, The Empire State Building, by Lewis Wickes Hine
Surveyor, The Empire State Building. Original vintage photograph by Lewis Wickes Hine.
A documentary photographer and sociologist, best known for being the first to use photography as a tool for social reform during the first three decades of the 20th century. Hine, basically self taught, took up photography in 1905 in order to document his sociological research at Columbia and New York universities.
He produced several series, his first one being on Ellis Island immigrants, made in 1905. In 1908, he published The Pittsburgh Survey, a sociological photographic study of miners.
The series he completed for the National Child Labor Committee, made mostly from 1908-16, documented the harsh living conditions of children working in mines and factories, and helped bring about the passage of child labor laws in the United States. Empathy for his work is reflected in the subject matter of some of the "Ashcan School" of painters.
Other photographic works by Hines include his Men at Work (1932), which included photographs of the construction of the Empire State Building. Despite his impact on changing social and work conditions, he died dispirited and destitute.
In 1998, a solo exhibition of his work was held at the Brooklyn Museum. His work is in the collection of the George Eastman House in Rochester, New York.
FRAMED: HEIGHT: 7 in | WIDTH: 5 in
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