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Laborer (Stevedore Longshoreman, Norfolk, Virginia), from the project The Negro in Virginia

1938 Robert McNeill Born: Washington, District of Columbia 1917 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 2005 gelatin silver print sheet: 10 x 8 1/8 in. (25.4 x 20.6 cm.) Smithsonian American Art Museum Museum purchase © 1938, Robert McNeill 1993.72.10 Not currently on view


Exhibition Label

Cropped to focus on a single dockworker, Laborer (Stevedore Longshoreman, Norfolk, Virginia) shows not the labor but the waiting, which sometimes lasted for days because the men were not permitted on the pier until called to work. It is an image of both dignity and resignation. “The look says, ‘what the hell are you doing photographing me,’” remarked McNeill, “and I think it says a lot more.”


African American Art: Harlem Renaissance, Civil Rights Era, and Beyond, 2012

Keywords

Ethnic - African-American

Figure male - elderly

Landscape - Virginia - Norfolk

Occupation - industry - shipping

photography - photoprint

paper

paperboard

gelatin silver

About Robert McNeill

Born: Washington, District of Columbia 1917 Died: Washington, District of Columbia 2005

More works in the collection by
Robert McNeill