Monday, July 28, 2008

BOSTON - Swan Boats in the Public Garden

I see this photo as a departure for "the usual" type of photographs Lewis Hine took, especially in his quest to expose poor conditions of child labor. Isn't it "touristy?"

The caption of Hine's original photograph, taken in October 1909, simply reads "A Group of Children out for a Ride with Their Teachers on the Swan Boats on Frog Pond." (Technically, this isn't the Frog Pond -- that is another small patch of water in another section of Boston Common.) The scene is the "Public Garden Lagoon," that has floated many a swan boat since 1877 according to a historical summary found on the Swan Boat's official website.

I assumed that Hine took this photo atop the small footbridge that crosses the lagoon, but now I'm having second thoughts about that. If you look at Hine's photo, then look at the one I took the other day (7/25/2008), Hine is much closer to the waterline than I got taking my photo from the bridge.

And, after looking at his photo more closely, I discovered an unidentifiable object in the bottom right hand corner of his photo (see circled area in yellow below). Could Hine have been on another swan boat when he took this picture? I would say it's very possible!


Photo credit for Lewis Hine's picture:

Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, National Child Labor Committee Collection, LC-DIG-nclc-04562.