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The Fields Family: 1911

The Fields Family: 1911

May 1911. Fries, Virginia. "T.J. Fields and family. Work at Washington Cotton Mills. The father cards, two girls spin, boy on right end picks up bobbins. Been working a year or two. Mother and smallest children not in photo." Photograph and caption by Lewis Wickes Hine. View full size.


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What We Saw

The pictures here on Shorpy were taken mainly by professional photographers that were historians, whether they knew it or not. Some, like Hine, were crusaders out to prove a point. Much of this was from the beginning of the 20th Century. Many of the later photos, of the depression era, were made by people in government employ who probably knew they were recording the history of some terrible times. The rest of us went to the movies and saw the America that many of us wished we lived in.

Hine and Evans

I will never stop admiring and wondering at the foresight of photographers who so carefully recorded what no one else wanted to see. I remember reading Walker Evans's qualms about "parading" the misery and want of the impoverished people he saw while doing the "Let Us Now Praise Famous Men" with Agee. But it was visionary to recognize that they and the others were seeing history that would be of such value, and showing America parts of itself it never really knew.

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