Happy Birthday Jacob Riis!! Danish photographer born in 1849, Riis was one of 15 children and experienced poverty firsthand. He was a carpenter in Copenhagen, Denmark. After emigrating to America in 1870, he eventually became a photographer and exposed the horror of the slums of New York to the public. He was determined to reveal social injustices and found that photography could do that so much better than words. Riis is considered one of the first to use photographs as social documents. He employed the use of flash powder to illuminate his subjects in the dark, gloomy settings he found them. Riis also wrote several books suggesting social change and gave public talks and slide shows of his work. Ultimately he was instrumental in seeing that the police lodging houses for the destitute were torn down and later that parks and public places were created for the tenement neighborhoods.