During the Progressive Era, a wide variety of so-called “muckrakers” explored the dark sides of life in modern industrial cities. One such muckraker was Lewis Hine, a photojournalist who captured the living and working conditions of low-income urbanites on film. Hine regularly trained his lens on communities of “new immigrants” who hailed from places like Italy, Austria-Hungary, and Russia. The plight of child laborers also caught Hine’s eye. Prints of Hine’s work circulated to government officials and the reading public, the very groups of people Hine hoped to set into action.
For this assignment, view two online image collections of Lewis Hine’s photography from the New York Public Library. The first consists of almost 70 images of immigrant communities (Links to an external site.) in major U.S. cities. The second consists of 110 images of children working (Links to an external site.) in factories, mines, and on the streets. Once you have browsed through the two collections, pick an image that you feel captures the social costs of industrialization in the early twentieth century. Write a blog post that 1) briefly identifies key information about your selected document (e.g. title, subject, date, location, collection) and 2) analyzes the document. Whom does the image depict? What kind of everyday living or working experiences does it capture? Why do you think Hine took this photo? How do you think he wanted his audience to think about the photograph’s subject? Does Hine seem to imply some sort of solution to the problems he depicts? Your analysis should be 200-300 words in length. Be prepared to discuss your image in class.