Artist: Lewis Wickes Hine Photo Analysis: ?Powerhouse Mechanic 1921?

Essay by tekkiA+, September 2003

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Photographer and artist Lewis Wickes Hine, was born in 1874 in the town of Oshkosh, Wisconsin in America?s Midwest. Following the death of his father, he worked at a furniture factory to support the family and from here began to see the hardship and sufferings of working class Americans. In the early 1900s, Hine entered into a teacher?s training college in New York City, leading him into his photography career.

The artwork in focus here is titled ?Powerhouse Mechanic?, taken in 1921.The medium here is gelatin silver print and the measurements for the sheet is 24.9cm by 17.6cm and the actually image is 24.2cm by It now rests in the Cleveland Museum of Art in Ohio, America.

Hine passed away in New York City in 1940 out of poverty in trying to continue his passion for photography and compassion for the suffering.

A vertical portraiture, because the subject matter takes up most of the space, and not much of the background can be seen, except black, void space.

The subject is made up of the young worker struggling against the huge machinery in the slight foreground, and takes up most of the space in the picture. Looking in his mid twenties, this young man is wrenching away manually at the machine with nothing but a spanner. His back is arched, along side the curved of the machine, making it seem like a backbreaking tedious task.

The vertical piece is taken at eye level, with a balanced composition. We can see this because there is not much void space, with the machine taking up much of the top of the picture, and the man at the bottom. There are also instances in the photo that have curved features to it, and they all curve in the same...