Labor Arts joins the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives to present this sampling of the work of five photographers who chronicled the lives of laboring men and women from the 1930s through the present day. Their images are overwhelmingly from New York City, and more often than not they depict the ways workers communicate with one another and with a larger public. Most of the photographs tell a story, and the stories are often messages -- in the form of marches, parades, rallies, picket lines, demonstrations, meetings -- all around the universal theme of work.

These five labor photographers were part of the documentary tradition of social realism that reached its apogee in the 1930s and was intimately connected to the labor and progressive movements. Like Lewis Hine, to whom some of them looked for inspiration, these five artists believed that socially concerned photography with its images of work and labor solidarity could help change the world.

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