Lewis hine essay

In the 1840s, the Irish accounted for 45 per cent of the total number of immigrants to the US. In the 1850s, the Irish and the Germans each made up about 35 per cent. Put another way, almost one in every two American immigrants in the 1840s was Irish, and one in every three in the 1850s. But, of course, Germany’s population was much larger than Ireland’s. In 1861, the German Confederation had a population of about 35 million, compared with only million in Ireland. Yet during this time the number of Irish-born and German-born residents of the US was roughly equal. For every Irish-born person in the US that year, only five remained at home, whereas the corresponding ratio for Germany was about one to 30.

While I don’t deny the importance of considering the “changing relations of production that the workers he studied were enmeshed in“ (Seixas, 405), I wouldn’t discredit the work of the reformer entirely as part or mouthpiece of a larger capitalist agenda. It is certainly important to consider artistic production as a reaction to the environment the artist is born into, and not to see it above it or outside of it. I deliberately use the term artist, while aware of Hine’s adamant distancing himself from the l ’ art pour l ’ art principle and his rejection of an excessive focus on expressive qualities, which in his opinion stood opposed to his (primarily) morally infused creations. He rejected the principles of Stieglitz’s Photo Secession as too disinterested, aloof and focusing on middle-class subjects only, while his own interests lay in how working class people lived and how things got made, all the while hopeful of social betterment for those in need. While he favored social results over technical perfection, he was not altogether unaware of the power of the aesthetic. In his view art should not exist for its own sake, but first and foremost promote a “heightened awareness of the world“. 1

Thus, taking into account all above mentioned it is possible to conclude that Lewis Hine was not only a prominent photographer but also a fighter against children labor and social unfairness. Indeed, the profession of photographer, constantly incoming in a creative contact with mass of different people, extraordinarily interesting, difficult and responsible. Moreover, photographic art give us an opportunity to look back into the past and incredible portrait galleries of Lewis Hine allow us to remember people who are suffering in different situations. In my opinion, Hine’s techniques of photography are work and creativity at the same time. I want to say that first Hine’s photos, which he called “gallery of the lost generations” greatly impressed me and one photo from this collection even became a symbol of great fight against child’s labor. Hine understood that internal world of a man is always made by basic maintenance of artistic portrait and used these techniques as part of psychological portraits making. We can call Hine’s photos masterpieces of photographic art because these photos are not only pictures but they are also an instrument in the struggle for people rights and his photos one day shocked the world. In addition to this it is necessary to emphasize that Hine’s photos are not “passive”, but vice verse they are “active” pictures of life and even today looking at these pictures you see a piece of history of our country.

What Haas looked for, and began to find, in his last monochromatic work was what he finally realized most fully in color: a photography that was not dominated by what Richard Kirstel has called "the tyranny of the subject." Like those members of the New York School with whom he had most in common, and like another figure whose explorations must be factored into this equation, the late Aaron Siskind, Haas had grown tired of making pictures of the world and even of making images about it; instead, he'd become desirous of making images that were simply drawn from it. The teacher and theorist Henry Holmes Smith once wrote (in an essay on Siskind), "The question: 'What was really there?' becomes as irrelevant as what Monet's lily pond really looked like to Mme. Monet when she rode by on her bicycle." Haas's mature color images come to that same conclusion.

The volunteer philanthropy of the 1890s was replaced after the turn of the century by the practice of “social work,” which grew up as a new profession based on the scientific study of social problems and the implementation of systematic, if gradual, social reforms. Lewis Hine , who began his career as an educator, practiced his photography within this framework. He taught botany and nature studies to children at the Ethical Culture School in Manhattan and began using his photography in his teaching. He taught a photography class in which he hoped to train children how to see the “beautiful and picturesque in the commonplace.” He went to Ellis Island to capture images of newly arrived immigrants. In 1908, he became a staff photographer for the National Child Labor Committee and also for the magazine Charities and Commons, later called Surveys. His photos of child laborers throughout the country and of working-class families in the immigrant neighborhoods of New York were meant to reveal, but also to educate. His pictures told a complex story about struggling families evading the child labor laws in order to stay one step ahead of a system that kept honest people hungry. Photos like “Climbing into the Land of Promise, Ellis Island, 1905” and “Glass works boy, night shift, Indiana, 1908” evoked sympathy, respect, and outrage all at once. The subjects of Hine’s photos were strong and dignified, though they needed sociologists and reformers to help them improve their lives in a difficult new urban environment.

Lewis hine essay

lewis hine essay

What Haas looked for, and began to find, in his last monochromatic work was what he finally realized most fully in color: a photography that was not dominated by what Richard Kirstel has called "the tyranny of the subject." Like those members of the New York School with whom he had most in common, and like another figure whose explorations must be factored into this equation, the late Aaron Siskind, Haas had grown tired of making pictures of the world and even of making images about it; instead, he'd become desirous of making images that were simply drawn from it. The teacher and theorist Henry Holmes Smith once wrote (in an essay on Siskind), "The question: 'What was really there?' becomes as irrelevant as what Monet's lily pond really looked like to Mme. Monet when she rode by on her bicycle." Haas's mature color images come to that same conclusion.

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