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Jacob Riis Self-Portrait

Jacob Riis Self-Portrait
Artist
Jacob Riis, 3 May 1849 - 26 May 1914
Sitter
Jacob Riis, 3 May 1849 - 26 May 1914
Date
c. 1901
Type
Photograph
Medium
Gelatin silver print
Dimensions
Image/Sheet: 10.1 × 15 cm (4 × 5 7/8")
Mount: 22.4 x 16.7 cm (8 13/16 x 6 9/16")
Mat: 45.7 x 35.6 cm (18 x 14")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Object number
NPG.90.120
Exhibition Label
Perhaps the poverty he endured as an immigrant led Jacob Riis to his life's work as a reformer. In 1877 he joined the staff of the New York Tribune as a police reporter and was drawn to stories involving the disadvantaged. Massive immigration from southern and eastern Europe had a profound effect on American cities such as New York, where poverty and squalor were endemic. Like many reformers of this era, he viewed these immigrants-along with Asians and blacks-as inferior; nonetheless, he voiced his outrage over their misery in his masterpiece, How the Other Half Lives (1890). Setting the foundations for modern photojournalism, Riis used technical innovations to photograph the dark interiors of tenements. He formed a close friendship with Theodore Roosevelt, who, as police commissioner and later as governor of the state, worked with Riis to improve tenement conditions.
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection
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