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The Quiet Sickness: A Photographic Chronicle of Hazardous Work in America


January 30 through May 25, 2012

Earl Dotter is an award-winning photojournalist with a lifelong commitment to documenting American workers. Beginning in the Appalachian coalfields in the 1970s and continuing today, he has put a human face on those who labor in dangerous and unhealthy conditions over a wide range of occupations across the United States. He follows in the tradition of such great American documentary photographers as Jacob Riis, Lewis Hine, Dorothea Lange, and W. Eugene Smith.

The Quiet Sickness is drawn from Dotter's large archive of black and white photographs documenting workers in the mining, fishing, agriculture, textile, health care, and construction industries, among others. While demonstrating improvements in workplace safety over the past 40 years, Dotter's photographs also suggest that many workers continue to work in environments that are not safe. Collectively, they make the case for protecting the health of all working people, as well as speak to the dignity and self-respect of the individual worker in America.

  • Page last reviewed: June 11, 2012
  • Page last updated: June 11, 2012
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