East 34 Street (Madison Avenue) below the Empire State Building, c 1933.
© National Media Museum / Science & Society Picture Library
Lewis Wickes Hine (1874-1940) used his photography as a documentary tool to inspire social reform. He photographed New York for about thirty years, concentrating on three separate but related areas: the European immigrants arriving at Ellis Island, the Lower East side and the Empire State Building, for which he was the official photographer. Collectively his photographs are a record of a changing city, in which he remains committed to the human figure within the urban landscape.