Power House Mechanic by Lewis Wickes Hine: Photograph and Meditation

September 30, 2020  • Kalissa Hendrickson



Sometimes it is hard to differentiate between our personal lives and our work lives, between our individual humanity and the systems to which we are subject. Lewis Hine’s Power House Mechanic depicts an arresting image of humanity’s relationship to industry. In this photograph the man’s body blends into the structure of the machine: the arch of his back mirroring the curve of the metal plate as he strains to secure it in place. The man and the machine appear to be one. The image is both haunting and intriguing, prompting questions of our evolving and sometimes fraught relationships to the technologies and industries that keep our society running. Does industry recognize our humanity? Does it need to? Does your workplace recognize your humanity? Does it need to? Where do you draw the line between yourself and your work? How do you decouple yourself from the machine?

Kalissa Hendrickson, Phoenix, Arizona

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