Jacob Riis is considered to be one of the founders of social documentary photography. His work “How The Other Half Lives” (1890) documented living conditions in the tenements of Manhattan. He along with Lewis Hine have set a standard that is hard to duplicate. Riis’ photograph “Peddler Who Slept in the Cellar of 11 Ludlow Street” (1892) is shown below. It is one of the most famous images taken by Riis. We believe that our photo “Woman Asleep on the Floor“; Alabama c.1951 closely represents Riis’ style. We hope that he would approve.
You think we have it rough now? Let’s take a look back for a moment. A World War, the Spanish flu which killed 675,000 people in our country that was only 40% of today’s population, discrimination, poll taxes, literacy tests, Jim Crow, the second coming of the Ku Klux Klan and the Great Depression. That’s about as rough as it gets, and it is clear from these photos “Birmingham, Alabama (1932)“. Research indicates that this was Aunt Harriet’s house. The destruction of the fireplace is evident by the pile of bricks seen in the first and third photos. Perhaps they were to be re-used elsewhere, so this scene in the second photo predates the first and third photos. Anyone want to trade places?