Lewis Hine’s unique blend of artistic expression and advocacy played a significant role in the evolution of documentary photography within the United States. His photographs poignantly captured the plight of children working in farms, mills, and factories, which helped effect change to labor laws. As part of an active community of reformers, he was often called upon to record diverse social issues. For example, Hine was commissioned to photograph immigrants passing through Ellis Island, and between 1904 and 1909, he shot more than two hundred photographs of individuals and families arriving at the port and awaiting processing.
Source: Smithsonian Magazine, The Phillips Collection Blog