/ by Sarah Jamison

  Lewis Wickes Hine (1874 – 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform and his photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States. 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. The classes traveled to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. In 1908, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with focus on labor in the Carolina Piedmont, in American industry to aid the NCLC’s lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1930, 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. 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. 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. After Lewis Hine’s death his son Corydon donated his prints and negatives to the Photo League, which was dismantled in 1951. The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York now holds his collection.

Lewis Wickes Hine (1874 – 1940) was an American sociologist and photographer. Hine used his camera as a tool for social reform and his photographs were instrumental in changing the child labor laws in the United States. 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. The classes traveled to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing the thousands of immigrants who arrived each day. In 1908, he became the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC), leaving his teaching position. Over the next decade, Hine documented child labor, with focus on labor in the Carolina Piedmont, in American industry to aid the NCLC’s lobbying efforts to end the practice. In 1930, 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. 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. 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. After Lewis Hine’s death his son Corydon donated his prints and negatives to the Photo League, which was dismantled in 1951. The George Eastman House in Rochester, New York now holds his collection.