Police Station Lodger, A Plank for a Bed by Jacob Riis (c. 1890)

The photograph “Police Station Lodger, A Plank for a Bed” was taken by Jacob Riis around 1890. It shows an elderly individual standing next to a tall vertical plank, which is presumably used as a makeshift bed, in what looks like a room in a police station. The person appears to be wearing a dark scarf or shawl over their head and is dressed in what seem to be period garments. Their expression is somber and resigned. The image has a gritty and textured appearance, characteristic of the photographic technology of the late 19th century, which adds to the austere and bleak ambiance captured by Riis. The setting is stark and bare, and the presence of a shadowy figure’s hand entering the frame from the right adds an eerie touch to the scene.

Other Photographs from Jacob Riis

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