America and Lewis Hine

Director: Nina Rosenblum
Screenwriters: Daniel V. Allentuck

Institute History

  • 1985 Sundance Film Festival


An eloquent and evocative look at Lewis Hine, the pre-eminent social photographer, whose still photograph some of the most important times and issues in American history.

Lewis Hine and his camera went to witness and document the arrival of thousands of immigrants at Ellis Island in the early 1900’s. He went into the deep South to document the abuses of child laborers in the textile mills and factories. Lewis Hine and camera were commissioned to document the building of the Empire State Building 1930, an unprecedented undertaking, one in which all of his skills as an artist seemed to come together. As fellow photographer put it, “Lewis Hine had the ability and patience to make photographs which reaffirmed the human being.”

Most of his subjects were simple people, people who labored with their hands and feet. His artistry was in capturing them in an unconscious moment, when their very essence somehow transcended their drudgery. Few artists and certainly fewer photographers have had such an important voice in shaping social reforms as Lewis Hine. The fact that he died in obscurity and impoverished, unrecognized as the consummate artist he was, somehow is dismaying and enlightening at the same time, almost as though he disappeared into his own photographs. America and Lewis Hine is a beautiful testimony to a man who saw the dignity in people no matter what their struggle or station in life.

Hopi, Songs of the Fourth World will play with America and Lewis Hine.

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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