Lewis Wickes Hine As A Social Photographer

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Born on September 26, 1874, in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, Lewis Wickes Hine was one of the first photographers to deem himself a social photographer. He studied at the State Normal School where he finished several classes in both drawing and in sculpture. Hine also worked in a factory before he went off to study sociology at Chicago University in 1900. While at the University he met Frank E. Manny, the superintendent for the Ethical Culture School in New York City. In 1901, Hines moved to New York to become an assistant teacher of geography and nature study for the school. He was also the official photography for the school and ran the ECS photography club while he was there. The Ethical Culture Schools was founded as a free kindergarten and…show more content…
Hine took his student out into the country to photograph nature, and he also had them in the streets of New York capturing images of its residents. After he started taking his student to Ellis Island to photography the immigrants coming to the United States, Hine made the decision to quit his teaching career and become a photojournalist. In 1905, he used his camera to document and record the arrival of the Ellis Island immigrants, studying the multiple social problems he saw along the way. Hine began to realize the abysmal conditions in which these immigrants both lived and worked and he wanted to give them a voice to be heard by the rest of the world. Most people in society viewed these immigrants as small and worthless, yet in truth, they were the backbone on which society was built. They provided for the majority of the workforce for the country’s growth, yet they had to settle for a meager living, barely having enough to scrape by. In looking at Figure 1, this picture is depicting what looks to be a mother and daughter, who in all the turmoil about them, seem to have found a soothing moment of peace in a simple embrace. At this time in society, many people failed to realize that all any of these immigrants wanted was the preverbal American dream, they were just trying to be happy and successful. Yet the influx of so many immigrants was met with much distain…show more content…
He sometimes posed “...as a Bible or insurance salesman to gain entrance to mills and factories; he concealed his camera and used stratagems to record the ages and circumstances of young workers” (Stange). There is simply not the right words to depict Hine’s pictures during this time in his career. Without looking at the picture, let me describe to you the boy Figure 2 is focused on. This picture is of an eight year old boy named Max. Max looks like the type of boy you would find nowadays running around the streets with his friends catching ball and or playing in a mud puddle somewhere. But instead, he is barefooted, picking shrimp in a Mississippi cannery. In today’s society, the FDA and OSHA would be all over this factory, shutting it down for not having its employees in proper work attire, needless to say the age of its employees as well. Max could not even reach the table to do his job if it wasn’t for the assistance from the rickety wooden box he was standing on. The sad thing is, the adults that are overseeing his work don’t even care about the hazard they have created for this youngster, instead they seem to be more concerned about Hine taking his

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