WASHINGTON (AP) -- Any family album is likely to have more cute photos than serious ones but now the Library of Congress is showing how experts have portrayed children over more than a century, and the images are meant to be serious rather than cute.
The show does have a close-up of two tiny feet, peeping out over a sheet, one big toe stretching half way across the sole from its neighbor. The picture, "The Newborn," was taken in 1955 by Suzanne Szasz, who specialized in children.
The little feet are a serious matter for Dr. Robert Coles, the Pulitzer prize-winning child psychiatrist who wrote the book that goes with the show, both titled, "When They Were Young." The exhibit opens Thursday and will be on view through March 22.
The feet, Coles wrote, serve as a reminder that "we who have mastered standing were once thoroughly in need of the outstretched arms of others."
Dr. Coles, 72, has written 60 books, including a five-volume "Children of Crisis," and is a psychiatry and social ethics professor at Harvard University.
This 1937 black-and-white photo by Dorothea Lange of a former tenant farmer's child in Texas is part of an exhibit of children's photos at the Library of Congress in Washington.
In a Dorothea Lange portrait of a former tenant farmer's child in Texas, worry can be read in the girl's eyes and in the hand fingering her mouth. The picture was taken in 1937 during the Great Depression when Lange worked for President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal agencies. She was documenting poverty on the farm, a job that made much of her reputation.
"All those children the world over," Dr. Coles comments, "trying their hardest to get through the riddles of life, its variousness, its spells of good or bad.
"One hopes and prays for every one of them, for what their lives ended up being, and too, for all of us who contemplate their sight, their already apparent destiny, no matter their relatively few years."
A generation earlier, in 1911, Lewis Hine was working for the National Child Labor Committee when he photographed a boy in an Alexandria, Va., factory. His picture was part of a successful effort to influence laws curbing child labor.
"The boy has a lot to keep under his cap," wrote Dr. Coles, "but he is a seasoned worker, doing his level best to build an American economy whose strength would soar in the years ahead, leaving us to wonder about the future appearance and destiny of this child."
Some older pictures by unknown photographers look more pathetic than cute.
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