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Lewis Hine

Social Justice and Child Labor

On View:
Tuesday, August 15, 2017 — Sunday, December 10, 2017


One of the most influential social documentary photographers of the 20th century, Lewis Hine dedicated his practice to capturing images of children toiling in factories. His powerful photographs told the story of children's abuse as workers and helped influence the creation of labor laws in the United States.

In 1908, the National Child Labor Committee commissioned Lewis Hine to photograph conditions of child labor in America. With the surge of the Industrial Revolution, factories and mills sought unskilled labor. While a child may have previously worked on their family’s farm or shop, a promise of higher wages lured many families to send their children to work in cities. Hine’s photographs are often accredited as one of the driving forces for inciting the American population to demand an end to child labor.

Despite the difficult lighting and locations, Hine managed to create thoughtful and provocative compositions that capture the child’s exhaustion, pain, and anguish. The Frost Art Museum organized this exhibition to complement FIU’s Common Reading Program and First Year Experience courses.

Image Caption:  Lewis Hine, Topping Tobacco, Winchester, KY, 1916, Gelatin Silverprint4 1/2 x 6 13/16 inches, Courtesy of the Bass