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Image of Steel Workers on Top of the Empire State Building Mooring Mast 9673

Artist

Lewis Wickes Hine (Oshkosh, WIsconsin, 1874 - 1940, Hastings-on-Hudson, New York)

Title

Steel Workers on Top of the Empire State Building Mooring Mast

Creation Date

1930

Century

20th century

Dimensions

9 1/2 in. x 5 9/16 in. (24.2 cm. x 14.2 cm.)

Object Type

photograph

Creation Place

North America, United States

Medium and Support

gelatin silver print

Credit Line

Museum Purchase, Lloyd O. and Marjorie Strong Coulter Fund

Copyright

This artwork may be under copyright. For further information, please consult the Museum’s Copyright Terms and Conditions.

Accession Number

1986.57
In this photograph, men rivet steel beams so high above the streets of New York that the other buildings are out of focus. The workmen, in contrast, are in sharp focus and yet also similar in size to the skyscrapers pictured below them. While this photograph might inspire awe and optimism about the power of human ingenuity, Hine also encourages viewers to consider the danger involved in constructing such iconic buildings. As a sociologist who used the camera to fight for social reform, especially child labor laws, he provides in this image a new perspective of New York, one that asks us to weigh our value of building incredible things against the value of the lives risked constructing them.

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