Friday, 16 October 2015

Friday Photography Quotes

This weeks photography quote comes from Lewis Hine.

Friday Photography Quote
Lewis Wickes Hine (September 26, 1874 – November 3, 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform. His photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States.
In 1908, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) and over the next decade, he documented child labor in American industry to aid the NCLC's lobbying efforts to end the practice. 

Hine's work for the NCLC was often dangerous. As a photographer he was frequently threatened with violence or even death by factory police and foremen. At the time the immorality of child labour was meant to be hidden from the public. Photography was not only prohibited but posed a serious threat to the industry. In order to gain entry into these mills, mines and factories, Hines was forced to assume many guises. At times he was a fire inspector, post card vendor, bible salesman or even an industrial photographer making a record of factory machinery.

During and after World War I, he photographed American Red Cross relief work in Europe.  In 1930, he was commissioned to document the construction of the Empire State Building. He 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.

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 five thousand 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 ten thousand of Hine's photographs and negatives held at the George Eastman House and almost five thousand NCLC photographs at the Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.
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