Jacob Riis

Powerful and persuasive photographs used to support a camapaign of social reform

Bonnie Yochelson


Price: USD$9.95

Jacob Riis (1849-1914) is known first and foremost as a social reformer rather than as a photographer per se. He became aware of the terrible conditions under which immigrants to the United States were forced to live while he was working as a police reporter for the New York Tribune. His experiences convinced him to devote his life to social reform. Riis was very aware of the new technology of photography and its ability to persuade and to mobilize public opinion. He employed it not for artistic ends, but as a powerful support for his campaign to alleviate poverty and clear New York of its slums. His highly influential book How the Other Half Lives (1890), which is still in print today, was the first book of its kind to be illustrated with photographs.

Photography is the visual medium of the modern world. It pervades our lives and shapes our perceptions. 55 is an ongoing series of beautifully produced, pocket-sized books that explore all aspects and styles of photography. They celebrate the world's most important photographers from the spheres of art, photojournalism, science, street photography, fashion photography and travel photography.

Each volume of 128 pages focuses on an individual master's life work and its development. It features 55 of their key works presented chronologically with an accessible introduction and critical commentaries, telling both the photographer's story and the story of the world that shaped their views.


Format: Paperback
Size: 156 x 136 mm (6 1/8 x 5 3/8 in)
Pages: 128 pp
Illustrations: illustrations
ISBN: 9780714840345

Bonnie Yochelson is a former Curator of Prints and Photographs at the Museum of the City of New York, where she supervised the cataloguing and printing of the Riis collections. She is completing an interdisciplinary study on Riis with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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Phaidon is the premier global publisher of the creative arts with over 1,500 titles in print. We work with the world's most influential artists, chefs, writers and thinkers to produce innovative books on art, photography, design, architecture, fashion, food and travel, and illustrated books for children. Phaidon is headquartered in London and New York City.
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