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Posts Tagged ‘early photography’

Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 – May 26, 1914), a Danish-American journalist, photographer, and social reformer, was born in Ribe, Denmark. He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the less fortunate in New York City*, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photographic essays. As one of the first photographers to use flash, he is considered a pioneer in photography. [Source: Wikipedia.]

*The general consensus outside America seems to be that, while he partially wanted to help the less fortunate, quite a lot of his actions came from voyeurism and gaining a sense of control over the poor neighborhoods by taking pictures (a form of surveying.) It is generally known that he went to the neighborhoods at night, while the people were sleeping, and then fired his flash (hence all the sleeping people in pictures.) At the start of the 20th century, photography flash wasn’t as advanced as it was now, so there was quite an explosion. However, he did take some great photographs:


Wikipedia article on Riis
The full text of his main work, “How the Other Half Lives.”
Riis article from the Harvard site
Photographs.

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