Jacob August Riis (1849-1914)
Journalist and photographer in New York and Barre, Massachusetts, USA
He was born 3 May 1849 in Ribe. Son of schoolteacher Niels Edvard Riis and wife Caroline Bentine Rundholm. Poor job opportunities and his fathers disapproval of a marriage motivated him as a young carpenter to emigrate from Denmark in 1870. After various jobs he was hired as a reporter by a newspaper in New York, and that started his rise to fame. Working decades as a journalist and photographer he pictured the problems of the poor in New Yorks slum. Riis also brought new standards to photography by using flash. In 1876 he went back to his hometown Ribe to marry the girl he loved, Elisabeth Dorothea Nielsen (1852-1905). After she died Riis remarried and with his new wife, Mary A. Phillips (1877-1967), he moved to a farm in Barre, Massachusetts. Here he died 26 May 1914.