Title: “Some adolescents in Bibb Mill No.1”
Creator: Lewis Wickes Hine
Children in the workforce toward the early 1900s is a familiar idea but the reality of it becomes rather revealing in this photo. Immediately, attention is drawn towards the girl in the middle, her facial expression and body language more dramatic than the others. The state of their clothing, worn and dirty, is the most obvious give away of how strenuous their jobs are. Similarly, their hooded eyes and sagging facial features age them significantly, contributing to the gravity of their work situation. Even the other girls standing posing for the photo have a natural slump in their posture and have a rather defeated look on their faces. The idea that girls around 12 or 13 years old could look so aged and battered be perceived as normal is alarming yet fascinating. Child labor wasn’t uncommon and was generally accepted at the time, grueling mill jobs in particular, so it seems unlikely that such a photograph would be used as a way to spread awareness.The motive behind this photo then becomes the question.