Mullen’s Alley, Cherry Hill by Jacob Riis (1888)

The photograph titled “Mullen’s Alley, Cherry Hill” was captured by the artist Jacob Riis in the year 1888. It depicts an alleyway scene set within an urban environment. The narrow passage is flanked by brick buildings, with a group of individuals standing at various distances from the camera’s point of view. In the foreground, a few barrels and a sink or basin can be seen, suggesting the functional use of the space by residents. The individuals present include both men and women, with the men positioned more centrally in the composition.

Their attire is indicative of the period, with most wearing hats and coats that reflect the styles of the late 19th century. The women are dressed in long dresses that were typical of the era. The mood conveyed by the image is one of somberness or perhaps the everyday reality, with an emphasis on the social conditions experienced by people during that time. The lighting is natural and the details of the urban environment are clear but austere. The image does not only capture the architectural and urban details of the setting but also provides a window into the lives of the working-class individuals who lived there.

Other Photographs from Jacob Riis

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