“A photo is a small voice, at best, but sometimes – just sometimes – one photograph or a group of them can lure our senses into awareness. Much depends upon the viewer; in some, photographs can summon enough emotion to be a catalyst to thought”
– W. Eugene Smith
W.Eugene Smith was born in 1918 and raised in Wichita, Kansas. He started taking photos for newspapers since he was 15. years old. Smith attended Notre Dame University in 1936 but ended up dropping out after a year to pursue photography in New York City. He then studied at New York Institute of Photography and then went on to being a Freelance Photographer. He later died of a stroke and his photography is now held at the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona.
Smith was an American photojournalist who was very invested in his work. He started because of his interest in aeronautics. His most famous photo essay was on the brutal World War II, , the clinic of Dr Shweitzer in French Equatorial Africa, the city of Pittsburgh, the dedication of an American country doctor and a nurse midwife, and the pollution which damaged the health of the residents of Minamata in Japan.
During the times of 1959-1977 Smith worked for Hitachi in Japan. And taught at the New School for Science and Research. His last photo essay done by him was about “Minamata”it depicted victims of mercury poisoning in a Japanese fishing village and was completed in 1970. A combination of innovation, integrity, and technical mastery in his work made his stand out from the others.
W. Eugene Smith is one of the legends of photography. He is notorious for being maniacal, emotionally distant and unreasonable. And has produced some of the greatest work in photography history.