The American Tradition and Walker Evans (July 10 to October 28, 2001)
- The J. Paul Getty Museum at the Getty Center (Los Angeles), July 10 to October 28, 2001
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[Gracie Clark, Spinner, With Her Family, Hunstville, Alabama]
Lewis W. Hine (American, 1874 - 1940)
Huntsville, Alabama, United States (Place created)
November 13, 1913
Gelatin silver print
11.3 x 16.4 cm (4 7/16 x 6 7/16 in.)
Gracie Clark, the tense looking girl in the white dress, posed for Lewis Hine with her parents and four younger siblings. As a photographer particularly interested in documenting the ills of child labor, Hine perhaps only incidentally created a family portrait. Gracie and her younger sister, far right, worked as spinners in a local mill. Their clean clothes set them apart from the rest of the family, emphasizing their role as industrial workers.
Hine was known to sneak into factories and warehouses under false pretenses to make photographs of child laborers in as realistic settings as possible. He would hide pad and pencil in his pockets to note the names and heights of his subjects. As one historian noted, "Hine was a firm believer in the power of knowledge to vanquish evil." Introducing middle-class America to the ugly truth about children's working conditions, Hine's photographs were a powerful tool in social reformers' efforts to fight child labor.