Jacob Riis

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Jacob August Riis (May 3, 1849 - May 26, 1914) was a Danish American social reformer, muckraking journalist and social documentary photographer. He is known for his dedication to using his photographic and journalistic talents to help the impoverished in New York City, which was the subject of most of his prolific writings and photography. He helped with the implementation of "model tenements" in New York with the help of humanitarian Lawrence Veiller. As one of the most prominent proponents of the newly practicable flash, he is considered a pioneer in photography. While living in New York, Riis faced poverty and became a police reporter that covered quality of life in the slums. He alleviated much of the poor living conditions many lower class citizens were subjected to.

Contents

Biography

Early life

Jacob Riis was the third of the 15 children (one of whom, an orphaned niece, was fostered) of Niels Edward Riis, a schoolteacher and occasional writer for the local Ribe newspaper, and Carolina Riis (née Bendsine Lundholme), a homemaker.[1] Among the 15, only Jacob, one sister and the foster sister survived into the twentieth century.[2] Riis was influenced by his father, whose school Riis delighted in disrupting, and who persuaded him to read (and improve his English via) Charles Dickens's magazine All the Year Round and the novels of James Fenimore Cooper.[3]

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