Poor Home, New York City Tenement by Lewis Hine (1910)

The photograph titled “Poor Home, New York City Tenement” was captured by the artist Lewis Hine in the year 1910. It depicts a stark and cramped living space within a tenement building, common among the poor in New York City during that era.

In the image, we can see a dimly lit interior that appears to be a combination of a kitchen and living area, indicative of the multifunctional spaces in tenement apartments. The room is characterized by its dilapidated state, with worn surfaces and a general lack of maintenance. Two basins are in the foreground, one of which is placed on a wooden chair, suggesting the make-do arrangements for daily tasks. There are several items hanging from the ceiling, possibly kitchen utensils or clothes, which suggests a need to maximize the limited space available.

A woman stands in the center with her back slightly towards the camera, engrossed in some activity that involves a child sitting to the right. Another child is standing to the left of the woman, facing the camera, possibly interacting or assisting with the task at hand. Clothing and textiles hang above and around them, contributing to the sense of crowding and the necessity of utilizing every part of the room for living purposes. The photograph conveys a palpable sense of the difficult living conditions faced by many in the tenements of New York City during the early 20th century.

Other Photographs from Lewis Hine

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