Before Their Time: The World of Child Labor

Overview

Although numerous international treaties and organizations work tirelessly to improve conditions for children, there are still 320 million children under the age of sixteen working around the world—150 million of those in the most harmful industries, such as prostitution and forced military service. This is their story, in words and photographs.
Physician and photographer David L. Parker takes us beyond the headlines and into the textile factories, stone quarries, and garbage ...

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2007 Hardcover New 1593720246. Flawless copy, brand new, pristine, never opened--164 pages, 135 photos, 4to.

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Overview

Although numerous international treaties and organizations work tirelessly to improve conditions for children, there are still 320 million children under the age of sixteen working around the world—150 million of those in the most harmful industries, such as prostitution and forced military service. This is their story, in words and photographs.
Physician and photographer David L. Parker takes us beyond the headlines and into the textile factories, stone quarries, and garbage dumps where children are forced—by unscrupulous adults or by lack of any other economic opportunity—into the desperate cycle of child labor. His haunting and sensitive portrayal of these children preserves their dignity and humanity while exposing their often tragic circumstances.
The hazards of harsh working conditions are visited exponentially on still-growing bodies and minds, whether they are cleaning elephant stables in India, picking cotton in Turkey, or extracting gold from Nicaraguan mines. Mercury used in mining causes brain damage; stone dust destroys young lungs; circus contortions cause serious muscular harm. But even beyond the disastrous physical consequences of child labor, simply having to work means that children are deprived of the education, nurturing, and socialization that are the necessary foundations of lasting health, development, and progress.
Dr. Parker's riveting portraits of children continues in the brave documentary tradition of Lewis Hine, Milton Rogovin, and Sebastiao Salgado, who have contributed to the legal and humanitarian advances of previous generations. We can only hope, as Hine said in the early twentieth century, that one day soon heartbreaking images like these will simply be "records of the past." Until then, Before Their Time is an essential call to action.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Compiled over 15 years, longtime activist Parker's stark photographs of underage laborers shine a necessary if disturbing light on the "pathetic" working conditions endured by those too young to defend themselves or to know better. By Parker's count, 320 million children under the age of 16 toil under hazardous conditions. This compilation of photos highlights six egregious industries that particularly exploit children, including farming, bricklaying and garbage picking. Intriguingly, for every horror shot Parker includes-such as the closeup of a Guatemalan boy's mutilated arms-he also includes tragicomic portraits of smiling circus performers, prostitutes and cotton pickers oblivious to any other life. Interspersed between the chapters are brief introductions (and a foreword by Sen. Tom Harkin) that point out the out-of-frame dangers his subjects face: asbestos clouding the air of miners, noxious gases polluting leather tanners or rabid dogs ready to devour stricken garbage pickers. Parker's grainy, black and white images allude to the realist photojournalism style of the 1930s, as if to demonstrate what little progress has been made in the past century. (Sept.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781593720247
  • Publisher: Quantuck Lane Press
  • Publication date: 9/3/2007
  • Pages: 160
  • Product dimensions: 10.56 (w) x 9.74 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

David L. Parker is a physician and activist specializing in worker health and safety. His photographs have been exhibited widely in the United States, Canada, and Latin America, including the collections of the Library of Congress and the Minneapolis Institute of Arts. He received a Christopher Award for work affirming the highest values of the human spirit, and a Twin Cities International Citizen Award for his work on human rights. He lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Senator Tom Harkin is an United States Senator from Iowa. He has long been concerned with child labor, and has been involved with the Child Labor Coalition (CLC) since its establishment in 1989.

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