Media File
Lewis Hine
Date: American photographer, 1874–1940
Biography: A trained sociologist, Lewis Hine used the camera as a tool to document social conditions in the United States in the early 20th century. Born in Wisconsin, Hines studied sociology at 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. His documentation of working children for the National Child Labor Committee was instrumental in the passage of child labor laws and inspired governmental legislation for social reform. During and after World War I, Hine documented the relief work of the American Red Cross. In the 1920s and early 1930s he produced a series of "work portraits" which highlighted the human element in industry. He chronicled the construction of the Empire State Building starting in 1930. During the Depression he returned to work for the Red Cross, recording their relief work in the American South. Hine's work is noted for its ability to reveal the dignity of his subjects while exposing their exploitation.