A striking photograph in Michel Serres’ Variations sur le corps*
led me to Lewis Hine
(1874–1940). M found a biography
, a collection of his photographs of people at work
(the photo from Serres’ is the one here), and a notice
at the Virginia Historical Society on his contribution to the abolition of child labor in the US. Anyone sanguine about the humanity of capitalism in the absence of regulation ought to look at his work.
Hine worked for the National Child Labor Committee
from 1907 to 1917, travelling around the country taking pictures of children, some as young as six, in factories and on the streets. During the twenties, he did commercial work; in 1930, he was hired to photograph the construction of the Empire State Building, from which his best-known photographs come. A book, Men at work
, was published in 1932. In the last years of his life Hine worked for the WPA and exhibited in New York and elsewhere.
FREEDMAN, Russell. Kids at Work: Lewis Hine and the Crusade Against Child Labor. New York: Clarion Books, 1994.
GOLDBERG, Vicki and Lewis Hine. Children at Work. Prestel USA, 1999.
GUTMAN, Judith. Lewis Hine and the American Social Conscience. New York: Walker, 1967.
HINE, Lewis Wickes, and Gutman, Judith Mara. Lewis W. Hine, 1874-1940: Two Perspectives. ICP Library of Photographers, vol. 4.