Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Jacob Riis – part 1


Jacb Riis c1903
Having done a major series of posts on the New York ‘Ashcan School’ (see indexes for individual listings), I thought as an addendum I would show some of the photographic work of Jacob Riis, a social reformer and photographer, who covered some of the same subject matter and is sometimes (erroneously) linked with The Ashcan School. He’s not strictly an artist, and he certainly wasn’t doing ‘art’ photography, but I think his photographs show a fascinating insight to the period.

The Ashcan School was an artistic movement during the early twentieth century that is best known for works portraying scenes of daily life in New York, often in the city's poorer neighborhoods. The most famous artists working in this style included Robert Henri, George Luks, William Glackens, John Sloan, and Everett Shinn, some of whom had met studying together under the renowned realist Thomas Anshutz at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and others of whom met in the newspaper offices of Philadelphia where they worked as illustrators.

From Wikipedia:

Jacob August Riis (1849 – 1914) was a Danish American social reformer, "muckraking” journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City; those impoverished New Yorkers were the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He endorsed the implementation of "model tenements” in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. Additionally, as one of the most famous proponents of the newly practicable casual photography, he is considered one of the fathers of photography due to his very early adoption of flash in photography. While living in New York, Riis experienced poverty and became a police reporter writing about the quality of life in the slums. He attempted to alleviate the bad living conditions of poor people by exposing their living conditions to the middle and upper classes.



This is part 1 of 2-part post on the works of Jacob Riis:

1888 An Ash-Barrel

1888 Bandit's Roost

1890 A "Black-and-Tan" Dive Bar

before 1890 Hells Kitchen and Sebastopol

1890 Bohemian Cigar-makers at Work in their Tenement

1890 Police Station Lodgers. Eldridge Street Station, Women lodgers (only women lodgers in Eldridge St.) gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Police Station Lodging Room 7. Women's lodging room in West 47th Street Station gelatin dry plate negative

1890c "Knee-pants" at forty five cents a dozen - A Ludlow Street Sweater's Shop.

1890c "Washing Up" in the Newsboys' lodging house.

1890c A "Slide" in Hamilton Street. (Shopkeepers hammered the cellar door full of nails to stop their using it as their grand slide) gelatin dry plate negative

1890c A Scrub and her Bed - The Plank

1890c An Old Rear Tenement in Roosevelt Street gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Arab Boarding House albumen print

1890c Baby in slum tenement, dark stairs - it's playground gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Baxter Street Alley in Mulberry Bend

1890c Blackwell's Island. Prisoners Breaking Stone gelatin silver transparency

1890c Children from a Poor Neighbourhood in Coney Island Play gelatin silver transparency with hand colouring

1890c Children from a Poor Neighbourhood in Coney Island Play

1890c Children in the Beach Street Industrial School gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Class of Melammedim Learning English gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Coming home from Fresh Air Vacation gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Drilling the Gang, Mulberry Street gelatin dry plate negative

1890c East Side Public School gelatin dry plate negative

1890c East Side Public Schools. A class in the condemned Essex Market School, Gas burning by day gelatin silver print

1890c East Side Public Schools. Class without desks in the Essex Market School gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Going to Bed in the Five Points House of Industry.

1890c Hester Street. The Street, the school children's only playground.

1890c In sleeping quarters - Rivington Street Dump.

1890c In the home of an Italian Ragpicker, Jersey Street.

1890c Industrial School (Children's Aid Society) in West 52nd Street gelatin dry plate negative

1890c James M'Bride, one of the City's Pensioners, father of the notorious Blanche Douglass.

1890c Juvenile Asylum Playground.

1890c Lodgers in a crowded Bayard Street tenement - "Five cents a spot."

1890c Ludlow Street Hebrew making ready for Sabbath Eve in his coal cellar - bread on his table.

1890c Men in a crowded in an "Black and Tan" dive bar gelatin silver transparency

1890c Men's lodging room in West 47th Street Station

1890c New York, Old house (torn down) in Bleeker Street, on a back lot between Mercer and Greene Streets gelatin dry plate negative

1890c One of four pedlars who slept in the cellar of 11 Ludlow Street rear.

1890c Pell Street. Happy Jack's Canvas Palace - 7 cents lodging House, "No swearing or loud talking here after 9 o'clock" gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Police Station Lodgers 9. Women in the Elizabeth Street Station gelatin silver transparency

1890c Prayer time in the nursery, Five Points House of Industry gelatin silver transparency

1890c Reporters Office at 301 Mulberry Street. gelatin dry plate negative

1890c Saluting the Flag in the Mott Street Industrial School gelatin dry plate negative

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