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 joined Magnum Photos in 1955 and became a full
Member in 1957.
W. Eugene Smith
American, b. 1918, d. 1978
William Eugene Smith was born in 1918 in Wichita, Kansas. He took
his first photographs at the age of 15 for two local newspapers. In
1936 Smith entered Notre Dame University in Wichita, where a special
photographic scholarship was created for him. A year later he left
the university and went to New York City, and after studying with
Helene Sanders at the New York Institute of Photography, in 1937 he
began working for News-Week (later Newsweek). He was fired for
refusing to use medium-format cameras and joined the Black Star
agency as a freelance.
Smith worked as a war correspondent for Flying magazine (1943-44),
and a year later for Life. He followed the island-hopping American
offensive against Japan, and suffered severe injuries while
simulating battle conditions for Parade, which required him to
undergo surgery for the next two years.
Once recuperated, Eugene Smith worked for Life again between 1947
and 1955, before resigning in order to join Magnum as an associate.
In 1957 he became a full member of Magnum. Smith was fanatically
dedicated to his mission as a photographer. Because of this
dedication, he was often regarded by editors as 'troublesome'.
A year after moving to Tucson to teach at the University of Arizona,
Smith died of a stroke. His archives are held by the Center for
Creative Photography in Tucson, Arizona. Today, Smith's legacy lives
on through the W. Eugene Smith Fund to promote 'humanistic
photography', founded in 1980, which awards photographers for
exceptional accomplishments in the field.
New York Institute of Photography
1956 Guggenheim Fellowship
2001/02 Dream Street - W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Photographs -
of Art Pittsburgh, USA; ICP, New York, USA; Center for Creative
1998/99 W. Eugene Smith - H?tel de Sully, Paris, France; Fotomuseum
Switzerland; Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain;
Dundee Contemporary Arts, Dundee, UK; Pallazzo Magnani, Reggio
1991 W. Eugene Smith - Centre Georges-Pompidou, Paris, France
1974 Let Truth Be the Prejudice - Jewish Museum, New York, USA;
American Institute of Architects Centennial Exhibition, National
Gallery of Art,
2001 Dream Street - W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Photographs, Norton
1999 W. Eugene Smith - Aperture Masters of Photography, Aperture,
1998/99 W. Eugene Smith - Du c?té de l'ombre, Le Seuil, France; (Il
Federico Motta, Italy
1998 W. Eugene Smith: Photographs 1934-1975, Harry N. Abrams, USA
1990 W. Eugene Smith, Thames & Hudson, UK
1989 W. Eugene Smith: Shadow & Substance, McGraw-Hill, USA
1986 W. Eugene Smith, Pantheon Books, USA
1985 Let Truth Be the Prejudice, Aperture, USA
1983 I Grandi Fotografi : W. Eugene Smith, Gruppo Editoriale Fabbri,
1983 Photo Poche, Centre National de la Photographie, France
1981 Master of the Photographic Essay: W. Eugene Smith, Aperture,
1978 Passenger Ships of the World Past and Present , George H. Dean,
1975 Minamata, Alskog/ Holt Rinehart & Winston, USA
1969/73 W. Eugene Smith - His photographs and notes, Aperture
1963 Japan A Chapter of Image, Hitachi, Japan