The democratic and republican origins of the US has tended towards a mythologising of ordinary people and the intrinsic dignity and heroism of blue-collar America. Nowadays, this is still evident in the RnB of Bruce Springsteen…and in the long tradition of US street photography.
Lewis Hine played an important role in developing the visual representation of ordinary life. He’s most famous for his iamges of steepljacks building NYC skyscrapers…and them having picnic lunches atop the scaffold…
Here are some of his railway pictures
Upton Sinclair is anothe rfigure who s important in establishing an agenda for social reform. Sinclair famously wrote about the brutal working conditions in the livestock markets, yards and abattoirs of the Chicago railhead…the book is called, The Jungle (1906).
Sinclair also wrote about the adventures of Sergei Eisenstein in Hollywood and Mexico.
More recently, the British film director, Peter Greenaway, has made a film about Eisenstein in Mexico.