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Steamfitter, or Mechanic and Steam Pump by Lewis Hine

Steamfitter, or Mechanic and Steam Pump, 1921

Lewis Hine

This iconic photograph of a mechanic in a Pennsylvania power plant presents man and machine in perfect harmony. The photographer carefully positioned his subject within the curves of the steam line and cylinder head. The worker strikes a coiled pose for the camera, gripping his wrench, but if you take a closer look, you’ll see the wrench doesn’t connect fully to the nut. Even so, the photograph does what the artist intended: it glorifies the worker as a noble contributor to industry, a particularly poignant idea in our current age of automation.

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