Wayzata, Minnesota

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sepia Saturday 68 : 2 April 2011

Again with my quest to follow Sepia Saturday's theme, I've gained knowledge about old familiar things, and a couple of  famous photos to follow!

Minneapolis Moline, 1918 Women workers replacing men sent off to fight........
The Sepia Saturday image this week is about American sociologist and photographer, Lewis Wickes Hine, famous for his picture “Power House Mechanic Working on Steam Pump,” taken in 1920. My first image (above) is of a fine group of hard working women and although very much the kind of photo Lewis Hine would search for this was not taken by Hine.

"If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera." - Lewis Hine

Lewis Hine’s photography was primarily focused on people, and he was known as one of the fathers of investigative photojournalism.

Lewis W. Hine born in Oshkosh, Wisconsin in 1874 he attended University of Chicago, Columbia University and New York University where later he taught in New York at the Ethical Culture School, where he encouraged his students to use photography as an educational medium. The classes traveled to Ellis Island in New York Harbor, photographing 1000 immigrants who arrived each day, between 1904- 1909. Hine took over 200 photographs and came to the realization that his vocation was photojournalism.

"While photographs may not lie, liars may photograph!" -  Lewis Hine

"The overseer apologetically said, "She just happened in, "Newberry, South Carolina, December 1908.

Having worked himself as a factory worker at the age of 18 due to his father’s early death, he put in 13 hour days six days a week. He spent his life combating child labor, publishing and tirelessly lecturing against child labor. An associate then and full member of the National Child labor Committee (NCLC) he published in magazines such as the liberal Survey in newspapers, posters and committee publications that urged Congress to enforce existing laws and improve the protection of children.

Hine’s “photo stories” were a milestone in the development of photojournalism.

"In my early days of my child labor activities, I was an investigator with a camera attachment, but the emphasis became reversed until the camera stole the whole show." - Lewis Hine.

Addie Card 12 year old "spinner" at North Pownal, Vt. Cotton Mill.
Laws had been passed to prohibit the employment of children in factories and mines, but the laws were ignored by many employers, and it was common in some states for children as young as 8 to work a full shift at a cotton machine as this young girl pictured above.

"Photography can light-up darkness and expose ignorance." - Lewis Hine.

Spinners in a Cotton Mill- taken 1911 (Courtesy of the National Archives, Still Pictures Division, Washington D.C.)

Could you imagine working today like these young girls, with NO shoes, completely barefooted?
Are you a bit weary of child labor pictures yet?  You can see why Lewis fought so hard for the children.  Thank goodness he did.
The photo below is one I know you've all seen before.  Perhaps hundreds of times, and even redone in various styles.  But it wasn't until this investigative journey that I've taken through Sepia Saturday's image by Lewis Hine...that I discovered who the photographer was or just how important his work was in so many ways.
These workman are eating lunch, imagine that today! They are on the 69th floor of the GE Building during the construction of Rockefeller Center, New York 1932.

For those of you reading this post and haven't seen the actual fascinating image this week I am closing my post with it so you too may witness a masterpiece before your very eyes...right here on a Sepia Saturday post...

This image by Lewis Hine (Archives of the US Work Progress Administration) is a pure example of Hine's flowing composition which encircles machine and this one strong armed, handsome, clean cut and yet hard working laborer--uniting him with the steam pump...with just a perfect light shining upon his every turn of his wrench.

If you feel like adding something yourself at Sepia Saturday just go here


Brett Payne said...

That's quite a tractor!

Jinksy said...

Those poor kids - what a life. Fascinating photos.

Postcardy said...

I really enjoyed the quotes you included along with the photos.

I knew about the child labor photos, but I had never seen the photo of the workman eating lunch. It would make me nervous even to look at them.

Mike Brubaker said...

I came across the photography of Lewis Hine recently and discovered many more examples of his documentary of the forgotten hard life in the city and country. The quotes are inspiring and echoed by today's brave photo journalists.

Alan Burnett said...

Now that I thoroughly enjoyed - and it taught me things I didn't know about Hine. As I have said often before, Sepia Saturday is, at its best, a relay race in which themes, memories, and information are passed on and enlarged upon.

Kristin said...

"She just happened to wander in."! words cannot express. Great photos. Never saw the one of the workers out over the city before, like postcardy, i could get nervous just looking at it. enjoyed the whole thing - photos and quotes and bits of information.

Betsy said...

Wow..the children working is just so sad.

But then I got down to the 'lunch' photo and took a gasp! Oh my! Who could eat like that! I wonder how many were lost over the years.

barbara and nancy said...

There's a giant-size photo mural of the men at lunch photo at the top of the rock
At Rockefeller center. There you are seeing that photo and then realize you're standing right about where they were working. Totally an amazing experience.
Ladies of the grove

Bob Scotney said...

I've learned a lot from this post Karen - about Hine and working conditions. The shame is child labour still exists.

Thanks for including the quotes especially about the 'liars.'

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Karen, I didn't know anything about this (except the part that child labor was horrible). I haven't even heard of Lewis Hine. Thank you so much for this awesome history lesson. This is one reason why I enjoy SS so much ... everybody is so nice and the history from around the world is incredible. Thank you so much for all the hard work that you put in today's post.

Kathy M.

Christine H. said...

I want to take those little girls home. How heartbreaking. I have seen the photo of the guys eating lunch before; it's beautiful but it gives me vertigo.

Leah said...

Beautiful post. Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post and great pictures, although the little girls make me so sad. Here in the UK we had small children working long shifts in the cotton factories too and injuries/deaths were fairly common. It seems so barbaric by today's standards. Jo

Anonymous said...

That photo of the men eating lunch makes me dizzy every time I see it and I see it all the time at a local deli. This is a wonderful post. The images are incredible and the quotes are, too.


love this post!!
thanx 4 the info on HINES. appreciated his pics and enjoyed his quotes. good show!!