Happy Birthday, Lewis Hine
These haunting child labor photos are only a fraction of the thousands taken by investigative photographer Lewis Wickes Hine, born one hundred and forty years ago on September 26, 1874. Hine used his camera as both a research tool and an instrument of social reform. In 1908 he was hired as the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee (NCLC) and spent a decade documenting child labor in American industry to aid the NCLC’s lobbying efforts to end the practice. Hine worked tirelessly, staying out at all hours to capture images of children working on city streets, or bluffing his way into mills and factories where he would not have been welcome otherwise.
Other examples of Hine’s work can be found in his series of photographs for the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA), documenting life in the mountains of eastern Tennessee, and for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) National Research Project, highlighting changes in industry and their effect on employment: