Inspiration for Struggling in America
A big part of my motivation for choosing photography as a career was to someday create a documentary project of social significance that would help to change the world for the better.
One of the photographers who inspired me on this path was Lewis Hine. Hine lived in New York City in the early years of the twentieth century and worked as a schoolteacher and photographer.
In 1908, Lewis Hine left his teaching position to become a photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, an agency that promoted and aided enactment of child labor laws.
Hine traveled around the country photographing the working conditions of children in all types of industries. He photographed children in coal mines, in meatpacking houses, in textile mills, and in canneries. He took pictures of children working in the streets as shoe shiners, newsboys, and hawkers. In many instances Hine tricked his way into factories to take the pictures that factory managers did not want the public to see.
Lewis Hine's compelling and powerful photographs were crucial to the the passing and enforcement of child labor laws in the United States.
“It would be the culmination of my photography career to produce a body of work in the tradition of Lewis Hine. My goal is to significantly broaden our country's awareness of the struggles faced by some of our fellow citizens to simply survive.” - Owen Kahn