The newsboy's wary expression suggests someone unused to being regarded as worthy subject matter for a photographer's lens. The size of the newspapers, measuring from his underarm to below his knee, gives a graphic indication of the physical inequality between this worker and the requirements of his labor. The shadows of the photographer, his camera, and the lampposts visually isolate the figure of the boy. This framing and the inclusion of a self-portrait suggest Hine's empathetic nature toward his subject matter. Of his emphasis on the human condition in his images, Hine wrote: "...one [misconception] is that our material assets 'just happen' as the product of a bunch of impersonal machines... the human spirit is the big thing, after all...." Lewis Hine's photographs of children in deplorable working conditions were instrumental in the passage of child labor laws in the United States.