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Cotton Mill Girl: Behind Lewis Hine’s Photograph

This video from Time (the American news weekly and website founded in 1923) presents a slideshow of images from Lewis Hine, an American sociologist and photographer, from his series on child labor in the early 1900s. A voice over tells us that Hine was hired by the National Child Labor Committee to photograph children being exploited. Among his iconic photos is “Cotton Mill Girl,” which helped raised consciousness about the issue of child labor. Hine’s photos influenced child labor debates over the next 35 years, and he is considered to be the most important social advocacy photographers of the first half of the 20th century.

discussion

What did photographer Lewis Hine take photos of? What do his photos have in common?

Where could children work in the first half of the twentieth century?

What story does the photo of Cotton Mill Girl tell–without the voice over narration?

Why is Lewis Hine important? Can you think of another photographer who was able to raise consciousness about an issue like Hine did?