Child Labor Committee
Hine resigned from the Ethical Culture School in
1908 to become a full-time photographer for the
National Child Labor Committee (NCLC).
Hine's first assignment was to photograph child
labor conditions in the mines, mills, and factories
of Ohio, Indiana, North Carolina, and West Virginia.
While visiting Chicago in 1909 for the annual NCLC
conference, Hine took photographs at Jane Addams's
Hull House, a settlement home for the poor.
the next nine years, Hine traveled across the country,
reporting on conditions in New York canneries, New
Jersey glassworks, New England textile mills, and
southern cotton mills and seafood houses. By 1918,
Hine had taken thousands of photographs, only a
small number of which had been printed.
Lectures and Exhibitions
In addition to conducting photographic fieldwork
for the NCLC, Hine managed the agency's exhibit
department. He also presented lantern-slide lectures
for the agency.
At a 1909 lecture, Hine remarked,
"The great social peril is darkness and ignorance."
Through his photographic work,
Hine shed light on the long workdays, the poor lighting,
the inadequate ventilation, and the dangerous machinery
that made working conditions difficult for many
The NCLC used magazine articles,
posters, and exhibitions to demonstrate the need
for child labor legislation. The NCLC's position
was that "No anonymous or signed denials can contradict
proof given with photographic fidelity."
The Child Welfare League also
used Hine's photographs to promote its causes.
Hine's freelance career blossomed. Advertising as
the Hine Photo Company, he offered a variety of
services, from exhibitions, to reports, to lantern
slides, to magazine and newspaper articles. Hine
sold photographs to picture agencies and to publications
such as McClure's and Everybody's.
Hine continued to write and photograph for Charities
and the Commons, whose name had become The
Hine presented his photographs
with captions in photo stories, posters, leaflets,
and pamphlets. According to social historian Alan
Trachtenberg, the purpose of Hine's social photography
was "to bring into view what normal social vision
has been conditioned to ignore." 
Together, Hine's photographs
and captions helped the NCLC build its case. But
Hine's images were powerful enough to stand alone.