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.