Photography can light-up darkness and expose ignorance - Lewis Wickes Hine

As part of the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the signing of the Covenant between the ILO and the City of Turin establishing the Centre, an exhibition on “Stolen childhoods, Lewis Hine: the pictures that upset America” will take place on campus from 25 October to 2 November 2014.

Photography is a tool of social protest. With this conviction, Lewis Hine, one of the most influential American photographers of the last century, working for the National Child Labour Committee, documented the scourge of child labour in the United States in the early decades of the twentieth century.

To raise awareness in his country, Hine took thousands of photographs of child labour in the United States of America.  The pictures document child labour in industries (mining, textile, food), in the streets and at home. The images are heart-breaking and sobering: children being exploited for money, their childhood stolen.

As Hine believed: “Whether it be a painting or photograph, the picture is a symbol that brings one immediately into close touch with reality. In fact, it is often more effective than the reality would have been, because, in the picture, the non-essential and conflicting interests have been eliminated.”

This selection of 100 pictures, out of over 5,000, is provided by the Library of Congress in Washington D.C.

Child labour is still an open wound in the world. According to ILO-IPEC, the global number of children in child labour is over 168 million, with over half of them working in hazardous conditions.

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