Breaker Boys

who/where/when: Lewis Hein, Pennsylvania, USA, 1910

what: In this photo I believe that the photographer was trying to capture the children that had to work instead of going to school. The focal point of this photo is definitely the children and how sad they look because they have to work in a coal mine. There is little contrast in this photo, but I think that’s because this photo was taken in 1910 and they only had black and white photography. The balance of the photo is not very good and the outer parts of the photo are quite dark while the middle of the photo is pretty bright.

why: The description of the photo in the website says that this photo helped to lead the nation to end child labor in the United States. This statement makes this photo very powerful. The photo shows how child labor effected these children and how it deprived them of receiving a proper education. The photo is documenting child labor in 1910 and how effective and wrong it was for children. I believe this photo also appeals to the emotions of whoever sees it because of the children and how they shouldn’t be working in coal mines.

how: The photographer was most likely using film because of the era that this photo was taken. Hein took the picture in a ‘natural’ environment but had all of the boys line up for him so that he could get the dirty look of what child labor did to these kids. A tripod was needed because it would have taken a long time to try and get the children to move in the right spot and hold the camera at the same time.

links: To see this photo and other historical photos, you can go here


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