Tuesday, April 20, 2010

W. Eugene Smith.

W. Eugene Smith. Photographs by W. Eugene Smith. Text by Britt Salvesen, Enrica Viganò. La Fabrica, 2010. 240 pp., 175 black & white illustrations, 10½x13".

William Eugene Smith was an American photo-journalist credited by many with being the creator of the photo-essay format.

His work's characterized by a strong sense of empathy and social conscience, and he himself was known for an integrity and idealism that was so fierce that it often became self-destructive.

His vivid photo-essays taken during World War II and his work for LIFE magazine launched his photography, but he eventually felt more at home working as an independent artist (read more about W. Eugene Smith here and here for example).

This monograph entitled 'W. Eugene Smith' "reproduces images from six classic sequences: Country Doctor, which portrays the selfless and sometimes frustrating work of a doctor in rural America; Spanish Village, the most powerful photographic study of 1950s Spain; Nurse Midwife,which examines the life of a black woman in the American south; A Man of Mercy,which documents Dr. Albert Schweitzer’s humanitarian work in Africa; Pittsburgh, Smith’s first freelance assignment, previously unpublished; and Minamata, a photo-essay recording the effects caused by a mercury spill in a region inhabited by Japanese fishermen.

Writings by W. Eugene Smith, clarifying his field techniques and guiding principles, are included here in an English-language insert, alongside the tale of his most praised photograph, 'AWalk to a Paradise Garden', and an essay on Spain in the 1950s, the setting for his Spanish Village essay."
-- part of publisher's description.

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