“Give Me Your Tired, Your Poor, Your Huddled Masses…”

While built for other reasons, the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, USA has come to symbolize the dreams and ambitions of generations of immigrants who came to the US to leave behind the strife in their native lands and fulfill the American Dream of peace, prosperity and freedom for their families.

The light in her torch guides the hopeful to her shores, and also reminds us that liberty must ever be vigilant through the long, dark night. Democracy requires more than casual citizenship in its peoples. It requires a social compact that has little to do with wide-open capitalism and imperial ambitions backed up with military force.

This beautiful photograph was made from an 8"×10" glass negative in the years shortly after the statue’s completion.

Statue Of Liberty - New York Harbor, 1905

Statue of Liberty, New York Harbor, 1905
Detroit Publishing Company
LC-DIG-det-4a12750 (digital file from original)
Library of Congress, Washington, DC, USA

A technician put his fingerprints all over the negative, and it was particularly bad right around Lady Liberty.

But most of the retouching was to remove over 100 years of dirt and scratches. Knowing this was going to be blown up to 23"×35" for the poster, I worked at 100% magnification in Photoshop, gridding off the image to focus on one section at a time and not miss anything.

Statue Of Liberty Photo

The final result.

Statue Of Liberty Poster

The 23"×35" poster.

“The New Colossus” is a sonnet written in 1883 to raise money for the construction of the pedestal of the Statue of Liberty. In 1903, the poem was engraved on a bronze plaque and mounted inside the pedestal’s lower level.

The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
MOTHER OF EXILES. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”


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