Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine

Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874November 3, 1940), was an American photographer. For Hine, the camera was both a research tool and an instrument of social reform.

Early life

Born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, in 1874. After his father died in an accident when Hine was 18, he began working and saved his money for a college education. Hine studied sociology at the University of Chicago, Columbia University and New York University. He became a teacher in New York City, at the Ethical Culture School , where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. [cite journal | last = Smith-Shank | first = Deborah L. | year = 2003 | month = March | title = Lewis Hine and His Photo Stories: Visual Culture and Social Reform | journal = Art Education | volume = 56 | issue = 2 | pages = 33–37 | issn = 0004-3125 | id = oclc|96917501 ] The classes traveled to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. Between 1904 to 1909, Hine took over 200 plates (photographs), and eventually came to the realization that his vocation was photojournalism. [cite web | url = http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/art/photo/hinex/empire/biography.html | title = About Lewis Wickes Hine | publisher = New York Public Library | accessdate = 2007-05-22 | first = Anthony T | last = Troncale ]


In 1907, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC). Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor in American industry to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. Between 1906 and 1908, he was a freelance photographer for "The Survey", a leading social reform magazine. He took all these pictures to show the country the cruelties of child labor.

In 1908, Hine photographed life in the steel-making districts and people of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania for the influential sociological study called The Pittsburgh Survey. During and after World War I, he documented American Red Cross relief work in Europe. In the 1920s and early 1930s, Hine made a series of "work portraits," which emphasized the human contribution to modern industry. In 1930, Lewis Hine was commissioned to document the construction of The Empire State Building. Hine photographed the workers in precarious positions while they secured the iron and steel framework of the structure, taking many of the same risks the workers endured. In order to obtain the best vantage points, Hine was swung out in a specially designed basket 1,000 feet above Fifth Avenue. [cite web | url = http://www.nypl.org/research/chss/spe/art/photo/hinex/empire/about.html | title = Facts about the Empire State Building | publisher = New York Public Library | accessdate = 2007-05-22 | first = Anthony T | last = Troncale ]

During the Great Depression, he again worked for the Red Cross, photographing drought relief in the American South, and for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), documenting life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee. He also served as chief photographer for the Works Progress Administration's (WPA) National Research Project, which studied changes in industry and their effect on employment. Hine was also a member of the faculty of the Ethical Culture Fieldston School.

The Library of Congress holds more than 5,000 Hine photographs, including examples of his child labor and Red Cross photographs, his work portraits, and his WPA and TVA images. Other large institutional collections include nearly 10,000 of Hine's photographs and negatives held at George Eastman House and almost 5,000 NCLC photographs at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

Later life of Lewis Hine

In 1936, Hine was selected as the photographer for the National Research Project of the Works Projects Administration, but his work there was never completed.

The last years of his life were filled with professional struggles due to loss of government and corporate patronage. No-one was interested in his work, past or present, and Lewis Hine was consigned to the same level of poverty as he had earlier recorded in his pictures. He died in 1940 at age 66 in the Dobbs Ferry Hospital in Dobbs Ferry, New York, after an operation. [New York Times; November 4, 1940; "Lewis W. Hine; Photographer Whose Pictures Showed Conditions in Factories" p. 19]

Notable photographs

* "Steam Fitter", 1920.
* "Workers, Empire State Building", 1931.
* "Child Labor: Girls in Factory", 1908.


External links

* [http://memory.loc.gov/pp/nclchtml/nclcabt.html Library of Congress NCLC Prints & Photographs]
* [http://aok.lib.umbc.edu/specoll/digitcoll.php UMBC's Hine Collection (5000 photos)]
* [http://www.shorpy.com/lewis-hine-photos Dozens of high-resolution Hine photos with the original captions]
* [http://www.morningsonmaplestreet.com/lewishine.html Lewis Hine Project: Nationally known project to locate and interview descendants of child laborers photographed by Hine]
* [http://education.eastmanhouse.org/discover/kits/kit.php?id=8 Lewis Hine : Immigration & The Progressive Era]
* Youtube Video: [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_tY1gk6J6zc "United States Child Labor, 1908-1920: As Seen Through the Lens of Sociologist and Photographer Lewis W. Hine"]
* [http://www.geh.org/photographers.html#g-text Lewis Hine, Selected Prints]

NAME= Hine, Lewis Wickes
SHORT DESCRIPTION= American photographer
DATE OF BIRTH= September 26 1874
PLACE OF BIRTH= Oshkosh, Wisconsin
DATE OF DEATH= November 3 1940
PLACE OF DEATH= Hastings-on-Hudson, New York

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  • Hine, Lewis Wickes — born Sept. 26, 1874, Oshkosh, Wis., U.S. died Nov. 3, 1940, Hastings on Hudson, N.Y. U.S. photographer. He was trained as a sociologist. In 1904 he began to photograph immigrants at Ellis Island and the tenements and sweatshops where they lived… …   Universalium

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  • lewis — /looh is/, n. a device for lifting a dressed stone, consisting of a number of pieces fitting together to fill a dovetailed recess cut into the stone. [1730 40; perh. after the surname of the inventor] * * * (as used in expressions) Ferdinand… …   Universalium

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