Lewis Wickes Hine (aka Lewis Hine)
Newsboy Who Begins Work at Daybreak, Mobile, Alabama
5 in. x 7 in. (12.7 cm x 17.78 cm)
Medium and Support:
Gelatin silver print on paper
Gift of Mr. and Mrs. James M. Scott
The photographer and social advocate Lewis Hine set out to use photography as a means to document child labor during the early 1900's. As the photographer for the National Child Labor Committee, Hine traveled across the United States documenting the role of child workers in a variety of industries. The data he obtained was presented in the form of extensive reports, lectures, and slide talks, and he often published brief essays on his investigations. In addition, his photographs were used as part of the NCLC's national publicity campaign to stop child labor.
The Lewis Hine photograph, 'Newsboy Who Begins Work at Daybreak...', was taken in October of 1914 while Hine was working for the NCLC documenting child labor. Convincing the public that the job of newsboy was an abuse of child labor was often difficult, as newsboys and girls were seen as young capitalists who were learning firsthand about business. In reality, however, newsboys and girls spent much of their time living on the street and were highly vulnerable, subjected to various forms of abuse and required to be out at all hours and in all weather. These conditions are suggested by the MMFA photograph in the isolation of the boy in the middle of an empty street, the unidentified shadow that hovers near him on the lower right, and the blinding early morning light.