The four parts of a good photoessay caption

As we discussed in class, here are the four parts of a good caption for your photoessay:

1. Take the reader inside the situation through description (precise verbs, adjectives, nouns, and adverbs). Use the five senses and similes and metaphors.

2. Facts from your research.

3. More description of exactly what is seen in the photo.

4. The ‘so what’. Why does this matter? What’s the conclusion?

Here’s the example I wrote in class:

As the machines groaned and whined and spun in a deafening roar, like an out of control giant washing machine, the children darted from machine to machine. Their job was to wedge their tiny fingers between the rapidly-spinning bobbins, replacing full ones with empties. A miscalculation resulted in cut-off fingers, or worse. Lint dangled in the air like dirty snow. Hacking coughs from contaminated lungs and burning itching eyes were the norm. Children worked in the textile mills twelve hours a day, gaining as little as fifty cents. The child in this picture stands barefoot on the giant machine, working to ensure the bobbins are changed when full. Children in this era were treated like lower-class, powerless slaves.

Homework: Paste your passage as a comment to this blog post. We will look at it tomorrow in class.

Also please choose your photoessay topic. Some possible options are:

child labor, conditions in the textile mills, factory working conditions, conditions in the coal mines, environmental degradation, women’s issues, immigrant children, street children

Or, perhaps you have another idea.


  1. Anna Sophie says:


    Thunderous monotonous spiraling sound of spinning bobbins was like a train thundering along the tracks. People working in the spinning room had trouble breathing, feeling like they were being slightly slowly strangled. The lint was getting in their lungs, everybody was drowsy and sloppy. Their fingers were soar and splinting and they could feel the blood bashing in their fingertips.
    The spinning room was a daring place to work, for both children and adults. Children had small hands, so they could fumble into the small places. Young girls and boys had flexibility, they were young and had tons of energy. The factory owners would not have saggy, shapeless and old people working in their spinning room.
    Those who worked in the factory they cleaned, combed, spun, dyed and wove the raw materials into cloth. Males, females and children ran from one machine to another. They were sweating and almost everybody got hurt by constantly working in the spinning room.
    In the photo we see lots of unfilled rows of colossal, long machinery. There are rows and rows of empty mills. The mills are filled with white yarn.
    The “so what” or the conclusion is that people that worked in the spinning room got injured, got tired and some died.

  2. Jisung says:

    As the machines groaned, and spun at high speed all over the mill factory. Theassigned noise caused workers pain and pressure like homework to lazy students. The boys’ clothes were all looked old, uncomfortable and dirtied by threads.Two teenagers shift from machine to machine and removea full spindle and replace with empty one. Other boy sweeps foreground of the factory. Children as young as four employed in production factories with risky, and often deadly, working condition. In 1901, 21.9% of children aged 10~14 worked as child labor. In 1910, over 2 million children in the same age group were employed in the United States. And in 1911 18.3% of them worked. At those time two-thirds of the employees in 143 mill factory were children.

  3. 17nmozeson says:

    Staring at the same piece of cloth each single day, while sitting on a timber itchy and painful chair makes you feel like you are doing nothing, but then you relies that this is your job. Seating there day by day period by period makes your body discomfort especially without moving or speaking, but only staring. Hearing only machines rolling, while workers strain to keep up or they will lose their job. The rhythmic work in the unexciting repetitive factory which people had to work every day, wasn’t motivating or exciting to look at. The women who worked in those factories were treated like slaves which had an unexciting work at all, they couldn’t discourse or make a move, but only stare at a piece of clothing that they had to check if was spectacular.

  4. HanKyeol Kim says:

    The knitting factory came after the textile factory. The female workers pay less than the male worker’s pay.That time factories didn’t have nice facilities so in winter they felt fever,shaking theirs bodies.In summer they felt hot,heatstroke. Someworkers worked at midnight so they felt feels like almost dead and The factories had many dust and dirty air so some worker suffer from various diseases.
    They had many accidents because almost worker worked by hand and that time they didn’t have safety equipment.So they didn’t prevent from the accidents.
    There were many child labors in the compnay beacuse sophisticated works need small hands and honer can pay cheep to child labors.

  5. Hyo Jeong Kim says:

    Barely clothed in freezing winter weather, young children worked for long time in the dark and dingy cotton factories. They never hear the sounds of wind; they only hear sounds of spinning machine all the time. Young children had to work non-stop about twenty hours a day, but they were paid only 50-cents as wage. Children moved hurriedly from a machine to other machine. They had to repaired and spinning the machines. Children were scalped when their hair was caught in the machine, hands were crushed, wounded and bleeding. About four to six years old children started to work instead of studying in the school, they misplaced their ability to attend regular school. Government should formulate the laws that can defend children from the danger, like children can work for less than six hours a day and they must be a student in the school. It will provide a opportunity to the children.

  6. Maya strikovsky says:

    At the machines rolls and spine the poor women are working with weak hands and sore feet. The fragments of wool on the floor are rolling from side to side while the women are running from machine to machine. The smell of dirty air enters deep into the noses of working women; it was hard not to be distractions by the hard conditions. Mill workers worked 6 days a week with only Sunday off; they Started their day at 6:00 a.m. and continued working until 6 p.m., with only small breaks between. Many young women worked in textile, because they needed money for their families, but the pay was low and working conditions were dangerous in those factories.

  7. Natty Good says:

    The sun was too hot for children’s skin. That made their bodies gone red and sweat poured out. They had to stand and worked on bare feet all day in the sunny cotton field. The ground was so hot. They felt so much pain when their feet got cut by dried husks. In their hands, they carried heavy sacks full of cotton. These children had to work since they were 5 year old or less than that. They worked along with their parents for long hours. The children got very low pay, as less as 45 cents per day. They had no chance to go to school, or enjoy leisure or play time. They were most likely don’t know how to read or write. Their skinny bodies told us that they might not have enough food to eat.

  8. 17sohpark says:

    Deafening noise from twirling wheels, children spend their whole day listening to the music that no one likes. All they do is replacing bobbins and work like a broken audio doing the same thing over and over. Thousands of them get “brown lung” which will first give them endless pain and finally throw them to the death. Children were not moneyed enough to buy clothes when they had to, so they were a piece of cloths instead of clothes and wearing a piece of cloth is very dangerous in factories because everything happens in a blink of an eye and death was one of them. Even though children under age of 18 were not allowed to work in factories, many of them volunteered because they were orphans or dependent from their parents. At last all of these made who they are.

  9. Hyeonwoo Son says:

    The children in the factory, their job was to deft their tiny finger between the giant machine wheeling bobbins menacingly, plotting full ones with empties. A sudden inattention could lead them to a perilous injury or even killing. Lint sling in the air like mungy dusts. Obstructing children to breathe and seeing hardly. Children worked in the textile mills worked almost about twelve hours a day, earning around fifty cents. The child shown in the picture above, stands barefoot on the huge machine conducting to retain the bobbins are switched when it’s full.

  10. Seung Won Kuk says:

    The filthy coal mine worker is working in a hideous, ear piercing noises and shadowy coal mine. The air they inhale is full of the small bits of coal dust and the smell is very dreadful because of the coal dust. It is also very risky to work in the coal mine because some time, the poisonous gas could be produced from the coal when lit on fire or when there is explosive. In order to make money for food, the unfortunate young children have to carry 1 ton of coal and maximum they can earn is 40 cent. In the picture, I see men, and boys, working in the coal mine. They are very dirty and everyone looks miserable. I see a boy without a leg and I think that he had an accident in the coal mine. As you can see, the coal mine in 1911 is very uncomfortable, danger and very poor place to work for children.

  11. 17hji says:

    As the machines making sounds like eardrums bursting, like an out of control dog barking devastating and wildly the children scurried from machine to machine. Their job was to scavenging and cleaning the machine, replacing full bobbins with empties. If they don’t watch out, they resulted in cut-off fingers, or worse. The air like a full of dust, it’s like eating sand sherbet with humid nauseating air as a syrup. Doing lots of coughs from adulterated lungs and blood vessel swollen up eyes were the common. Children worked in the textile mills twelve hours a day, to gain the fifty cents. They were treated like law life and if they sleep a bit in work time, they punished heartlessly. The factory owner imbibed the children’s freedom like a parasite.

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