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March 16, 2017

Icarus, Empire State Building, 1930

(Photo by Lewis Hine)

Of the many photographs Hine took of the Empire State Building, this one became the popular favorite. Suspended in graceful sangfroid, the steelworker symbolizes daring technical innovation of the sort Daedalus embodied in Greek legend. While Daedulus flew the middle course between sea and sky safely, his son Icarus flew too close to the sun and perished. The optimism of this image suggests that it was not Icarus's folly but his youth and his ability to fly that prompted Hine's title. (via The Metropolitan Museum of Art)

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