Lewis Hine, awkward photographer, visits Valladolid
Lewis Hine, awkward photographer, visits Valladolid
«New York, the big place of the western continent, the heart, the brain, the point of reference, the spring, the pinnacle, the extremity, not beyond the new world».
W. Whitman, 1920
Under the title to Construct a nation, the foundation of Culture of Valladolid, they receive in its Municipal Room of Exhibitions of San Benito in Valladolid the photographic exhibition of Lewis Hine (American photographer, 1874 – 1840). Hine is considered to be the father of the modern social photo. The sample is composed by more than 50 original images ("vintage), a video and a few exhibitors who gather some epoch documents. They belong to the family Rosenblum (one of the biggest collectors) of New York.
The collection contains one of the «more famous» series of photos that show to the workers of Empire State of New York in full work during the construction of the mythical skyscraper. But one of the series with more value corresponds to the photos that Hine did to the immigrants of Ellis Island. The American photographer devoted himself, with unheard-of thoroughness in that epoch, to paint the portrait of all the immigrants who were in the island originated from its fatherlands and in waiting of which they were assigning a destination to them. In each of them, behind or in a cardboard it was noting down information of the painted the portrait ones, like origin, or work place. Today its photos are exhibited, of permanent form, in Ellis Island Museum like icons of the big migratory experience of the United States.
Other one of the outstanding series is the correspondent to the photos that paint the portrait of young people, many of them in infantile age, in full work. This way we can observe small miners whose faces are stained with coal, or girls in the machines of weaving. I use the camera to document, but also to put the accent on the deplorable working conditions that existed in these factories. These conditions scarcely were bearable for adults, so much less for the infantes. Its captures were trying to sensitize to the public opinion.
Proper Lewis Hine suffered these hard conditions. It remained bereft of father at very early age (eighteen years) and had to start working at diverse factories. When it could it recaptured its studies going so far as to realize them at university level. In 1902 it turned into teacher of sciences and geography in Ethical Culture School of New York, where the president Frank A. Manny up cheered it to use the camera as an educational instrument, considering its photos to be an expressive way on horseback between the sociology and the papers.
He committed himself directly with the most disadvantaged, offering its work and investigation to the service of benefit societies and magazines that were denouncing the conditions of these groups.
In 1906 the philanthropic magazine Charities and the Commons hired it to realize a sociological / ethnological study of the industrial town of Pittsburgh. It was required that its works be signed (something infrequent in that epoch). In the city there were many immigrants attracted by the iron and steel industry. It worked with a very numerous team between that there were educational and social worker. Not only I paint the portrait of the workers and its families but also of the city and the sceneries. It was a very laborious and very productive task.
In 1907 the National Committee for the Infantile Work entrusted him that it was documenting the work to domicile that there realized the immigrants who would live in the barracks of the suburbs of New York. Immediately after this work its collaboration with this institution was on the increase. It moved for the different states of the USA, with its photos, to denounce this abuse with the infantile work. Its work constituted a fundamental support to denounce and to provoke a change in the labor laws.
The American Red Cross hired its services, in 1918, for a salary, with the grade of captain, of 300 dollars a month to receive with its camera reflexes of the situation after the Big War. Basically its task was consisting of documenting the help to the refugees in France and the Balkans. There was covered, principally, big part of France, Greece and Serbia.
The Big Depression came and New York was happening in a few difficult moments. There came an order that would help him to relieve its economic situation. Empire State was beginning getting up and Hine was in charge of documenting these works. Its you photograph they have turned into an icon of the modernity.
On November 4, 1940, one year after the death of its wife, Hine dies; its son Corydon donated the file to the association newyorkina independent Photo League and, next, the interest of Walter Rosenblum, the negatives and the impressions transferred George Eastman House de Rochester, where the first big retrospective of 1957 was organized and that till now, along with the Library of the Congress of Washigton, one of the sources constitutes of reference to the work of Hine.
Its photos were something more than a capture of an image in a moment in particular and with a situation (often of denunciation) specially for the hard conditions that in them are reflected. They were taken by active pedagogics. A material that then has been a work object in the classrooms for its analysis and reflection. Its works are part of the harsh cultural and symbolic one of the United States, but that the bases sat, for between other questions, to reform and to establish a few new sociolabour laws that were defending especially the rights of the children and adolescents in its relation with the work.
I work on this photographer of the web:
Excellent web of the Foundation Mapfre that dedicated this photographer
And a video - documentary
This work will be part of the Magazine Atticus 25 that we hope that very quickly it should be in circulation.
Filed file: Exhibitions
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