Research on Lewis W Hine and Jacob Riis

Jacob Riis is a very interesting photographer as he seems to photograph the children while they are asleep, this creates an innocence to the subjects even though they are in tattered clothes sleeping on the floor or on the stairs, this creates a powerful imagery and would really tug at the heart strings.


Image 1 is of a group of three boys who are asleep in the corner of what looks like an alleyway. This picture is particularly heart breaking due to the facial expression of the boy whose face we can see, his facial expression is one of pain and suffering and it really makes you want to go and help them.


Image 2 is of another group of three boys who are asleep on the bottom of the stairs, this image is another powerful image because you can imagine them being so tired they would sleep anywhere, including the most uncomfortable areas such as on stairs.


Image 3 is of another group of three boys who look slightly younger than the previous images and are asleep on a street. With the children being so young you are almost horrified to see these types of images as you would never dream of letting your own children of that age out of your sight let alone sleeping rough on the streets

Hine is one of my favourite photographers due to the fact he seems to get on the same level of his subjects and he seems to have a connection with them, this is something I feel is missing in Riis images.


Image 1 is of a small boy who looks like he is working on a railway or something due to the clothes he is wearing. The pain and suffering can really be seen in his eyes and it is something that would really help change the laws on child labour.


Image 2 is the famous shot of the workmen having lunch on the empire state building. The views really make you fear for the workmen’s life as it almost looks like they have been green screened onto the spot but I do know that this isn’t really true and it was actually taken there and then.


Image 3 is of a small girl with what looks like tears forming in her eyes, it may be from the dust in the factory or it could be from the pain and suffering she is going through but it is something that is horrifying to look at.

Both Hine and Riis are really different photographers, Hine tends to get onto the same level of his subjects and Riis tends to have this step back approach which is really interesting to be able to compare. Riis also shows pain physically and it is obvious that these children are in pain but Hine shows pain mentally by the look in the children’s eyes. However something that Hine shows that Riis does not, is physical and mental strength. You can see this in all of Hine’s pictures due to the fact that you have men working massive heights and none of the children look scared or in crying hysterics.



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