Italian Madonna, Ellis Island

1905 in Ellis Island
Lewis Hine

Gelatin silver print of entitled 'Italian Madonna, Ellis Island' photographed by Lewis Hine, 1905. One of 88 monochrome prints by Lewis Hine, included in the `Hinesight' exhibition, NMPFT, 1990.

Lewis Hine (1874 - 1940) was an influential American photographer, best remembered for the contribution he made to the reform of the American child labour laws.

Originally trained as a sociologist, Hine's first photographic project was to document European immigrants newly arrived at Ellis Island, New York. Always photographing his subjects with dignity, Hine was able to communicate a sense of individuality about the immigrants, and to challenge some of the unfounded prejudice which they faced.

This image, an iconic and evocative portrait of a mother and child, portrays the uncertainty of arriving in a strange land. They were amongst the hundreds to arrive at Ellis Island that day looking for a better life in a new country. Hine’s determination of depict their individualism however, is unwavering.


Object Number:
silver gelatin print
The National Media Museum, Bradford