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Georgia State University

Photo of the Week: Photo Manipulation of the 1914 Fulton Bag Strike

The deceptive editing of photographs has a long history prior to its current popularity using PhotoShop.

Tent camp of families on strike against the Fulton Bag and Cotton Mill, Atlanta, 1914

This panorama of the strike camp is composed of two separate group portraits taken by photographer William F. Nelson.  They were cut and pasted together to create the illusion that the camp and the number of strikers were twice their actual size.

Some of the same people can be found in both of the individual group portraits.

These and related photographs were widely distributed across the country to garner public sympathy for the strikers.  The workers were seeking a hike in their $7 – $10 weekly salary, a 54-hour work week, and a reduction in child labor.

This failed yearlong strike is pieced together in Georgia State University history professor Clifford Kuhn’s 2001 book, Contesting the New South Order: The 1914-1915 Strike at Atlanta’s Fulton Mills.

To participate in the Photo of the Week forum, please offer a critique of the photograph — its significance, historical value, and importance to you.