How the Other Half Lives

Photos like these portrayed the poor living standards that was quite common during the guilded age.

How the Other Half Lives was written by Jacob Riis in 1890. It served to inform the ignorant middle and upper class citizens of the hardships faced by immigrants living in New york city. Some of these hardships includes poverty, poor living quarters, and unhealthy work environments. Riis became known as a vanguard in photojournalism and muckraking. He himself being an immigrant also faced the hardships he describes in his book using photos, sketches, and writing.

Contextualizing this document changes the documents in a way that makes it objective. The document loses the shock factor and impact that it had when it was first published. Instead it just becomes a historical document that helps the present understand living conditions of the time. Just the mere mention of this book warrants an understanding, without ever having to read the book.

But for those of you that are interested, here it is.

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