Thursday, June 2, 2011

Icarus Atop the Empire State Building, Lewis Hine


*Title on Object:  “Icarus Atop the Empire State Building” 1931
*Published Title: "Sky Boy" 1931
*Photograph by: Lewis W. Hine
*Gelatin Silver Print, 8.8 x 6.5 cm

*Lewis Hine has significance in the history of photography because his photographs were used as a means of social reform. In the early 1900s he worked with the National Child Labor committee and was assigned to a job to photograph child labor practices. Hine's work (which documented the “horrors of work”) greatly influenced the change in the public's attitude towards child labor and was used as a main tool in the fight for stricter child labor laws.
In 1930, Lewis Hine was hired to photograph the construction of the Empire State Building. On this job, he took hundreds of photos that, in this case, depicted the “dignity of labor.” These photos, along with photos of factory workers and other laborers, were published in a book by Hine titled “Men at Work” in 1932.

*I chose this photograph because I think that its overall composition is great. That is what drew me to the photograph. I liked that it has this diagonal line, and this includes the person being part of this line, through the whole photo which makes it more interesting than if this line (with the person) were straight down the page. Another thing was that the line was not just one straight line, it was broken up by the lose piece of cable/rope that was wavy and had a circle at the bottom. This break in the line and the line itself created a sort of whole/cavity that looked big enough for the person to fit if anything.
Another thing that interested me about this photograph was the layout of the positive and negative space throughout the photo. Along with the diagonal line created by the rope and the man in the photograph, there were metal parts of the building laying in the bottom left side of the photo that were dark and gave this mainly gray photograph darker parts to sort of balance out the color. The river in the background created another diagonal line that was opposite the rope in the foreground for great contrast, as well

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