Playground in Mill Village by Lewis Hine (1909)

The photograph titled “Playground in Mill Village” was taken by Lewis Hine in 1909. It captures a candid street scene in a mill village, where children are seen playing amidst a backdrop of hanging laundry and brick tenement buildings.

In the image, there is a mix of activity and stillness. Several children are playing in the cobblestone street; one stands out in the foreground, appearing to be in motion, possibly skipping or hopping. Other children seem to be engaged in different types of play, including a group huddled together on the left, potentially involved in a quieter activity or conversation. On the right, a group of children are perched atop a low cart or wagon, observing the scene around them. Lines of laundry dangle above the street, creating a canopy that adds to the intimate feel of the alleyway. The tenements flank the sides of the image, their brick facades giving a sense of the urban environment these children inhabited.

Structurally, the scene is framed by the buildings and the laundry-lines, which draw the viewer’s eye toward the center of the alley and the activities taking place there. The photograph serves as a historical record of the living conditions and daily life in a mill village in the early 20th century, as well as a powerful visual commentary on the era’s social conditions.

Other Photographs from Lewis Hine

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