Looking again at the great shots of China’s manufacturing by Edward Burtynsky, I sort of got to thinking about Lewis Hine and his pictures of American manufacturing taken a century earlier. Hine was using his camera to effect social change. In fact his images were instrumental in changing child Labor laws in America. His photos feel personal, often featuring just one vulnerable subject.
Burtynsky’s large format images by contrast, reflect the mammoth scale of China’s manufacturing and the dehumanizing effect of such a world, where people are just small components in the manufacturing process.
Too different approaches both yielding the same result – sympathy for the human being stuck in the machine.