Lewis Hine September 26th 1874- NOVEMBER 3rd 1940

Who is he?

Lewis was an American photographer and sociologist who used his photographs to change child labor laws and influence society. He was born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin and studied sociology in Chicago. He later became a teacher where he encouraged his pupils to used photography as education tool.

What is he known for?

In 1904 Hine took over 200 plates (pictures) of the thousands of Immigrants who arrived each day in the New York Harbour. It was here he had a realisation that photographs could be used as an aid for social change and revolution. In 1907 he was employed to photograph the Russell Sage Foundation where he photographed life in a steel-making factory. In 1908 Lewis became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee.

In 1913 he photographed child labour at a cotton mill, taking a series of compisite portraits.

In 1920-30s hine took "work portraits" trying to show the workers hard effort of a huge industry. In 1930 he was commissioned to photograph the build of the Empire State Building. He shot the workers in unusual angles and shapes as they push and pull heavy equipment/steel.


Hine worked with a hand held wooden box camera that would capture 4" x 5" and 5" x 7" glass plate film negatives, where he would then make contact plates and enlargements.

Finished images

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