How The Other Half Lives

Jacob Riis is another photographer who in addition to taking very important photographs was also a great writer. His series "How The Other Half Lives" has had a profound impact on my work. His efforts to ask questions with his images and words and subsequently make change is very inspiring. The same streets that these images were made a 100 years ago are now some of the hottest downtown real estate where nothing new goes below 1.2. If Riis saw Orchard Street today I think he would have a heart attack. Here is a selection of "How The Other Half Lives"...

"A man stood at the corner of Fifth Avenue and Fourteenth Street the other day, looking gloomily at the carriages that rolled by, carrying the wealth and fashion of the avenues to and from the big stores down town. He was poor, and hungry, and ravaged. This thought was in his mind: "They behind their well-fed teams have no thought for the morrow; they know hunger only by name, and ride down to spend in an hour's shopping what would keep me and my little ones from want a whole year." There rose up before him the picture of those little ones crying for bread around the cold and cheerless hearth-then he sprang into the throng and slashed about him with a knife, blindly seeking to kill, to revenge. The man was arrested, of course, and locked up. To-day he is probably in a mad-house, forgotten. And the carriages roll by to and from the big stores with their gay throng of shoppers. The world forgets easily, too easily, what it does not like to remember."