Anyone here remember W. Eugene Smith?

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by chip j, Sep 25, 2018.

  1. chip j

    chip j Member
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    He was highly publicized in his day.
     
  2. mike c

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    I do, he was a highly regarded Photographer [Photo-journalist] in his time.
     
  3. OP
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    chip j

    chip j Member
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    A printmaker almost beyond belief.
     
  4. CMoore

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    very well known.
    Who was that contemporary of his...i think he just died this year, at over 100 years old.?
    Douglas Donald, or Donald Douglas.....something like that.?
     
  5. OP
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    chip j

    chip j Member
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    David Donald Douglas
     
  6. jimjm

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    David Douglas Duncan. Photographed during WWII, Korea and Vietnam, while Smith photographed WWII in the Pacific theater. Both were incredibly talented, but Smith is my favorite photographer. Known to be a bit of an arse and unreliable, but driven to perfection and a master printer. Bought one of his 1951 vintage prints from "Spanish Village" a number of years ago, when Time/Life was blowing out all their print archives. If the house ever burns down, that's coming with me first, after the wife and cats, of course. :unsure:
     
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    chip j

    chip j Member
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    My mistake-I WAS thinking DUNCAN but I've had a series of hard days & nites. Thanks
     
  8. Richard Man

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    One of the greats...
     
  9. slackercrurster

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    W. Eugene Smith was a textbook example of the dedicated bohemian sacrificing profit, life and family in order to do their art…

    [​IMG]

    This was Smith’s famed cold water ‘jazz loft.’ I think the rent was $40 a month.

    [​IMG]

    When Smith needed some cash he would pawn cameras and lenses.

    [​IMG]

    Smith made use of a broken window as matte box.

    [​IMG]

    W. Eugene Smith’s photo through the broken window pane.

    I had read when Smith died he had $18 in the bank. Not much of a role model for the young gun photogs nowadays that only think about $. But if you do it for love and not money, a great model of dedication and talent.
     
  10. Jim Jones

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    A fine biography of this driven man is W. Eugene Smith: Shadow and Substance: the Life and Work of an American Photographer by Jim Hughes, 1989. A moving example of his photojournalism is the book, Minamata, on the horrors of industrial mercury poisoning in a Japanese village.
     
  11. GRHazelton

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    His Pieta from that photo essay is truly heart-rending. He was attacked by agents of the chemical company, Chisso, which had polluted the waters with mercury compounds, and was seriously injured. But don't forget his Life magazine photo essay on a country doctor, and his essay on Pittsburgh. A true giant.
     
  12. CMoore

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    Yeah, he was a rather sad story. It is a shame.
    I have had 3% the "success" that he did, but i have way more money and security.
    I am not sure what kind of Spiritual/Physical state he was in when he died. :sad:
     
  13. jawarden

    jawarden Member
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    A wonderful photographer that lived a hard life. The Jazz Loft Project is a great book, excellent documentary, and compelling podcast too. It's an extraordinary achievement.
     
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  15. semi-ambivalent

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    My wife and I were lucky to see a sparsely attended show of original "Country Doctor" prints here Denver in the early 1990s. The space was in what is now the RINO district, then it was just warehouses. The subject, Dr. Ceriani, has family in Denver (there's Cerianis anyway) and I believe the prints were family heirlooms. I don't remember if they were for sale but I would seriously doubt it. Dr. Ceriani's practice was in and around Kremmling, Colorado, today just a couple hours WNW from Denver. Not so in the 1940s. The prints were spectacular.
     
  16. Lee Rust

    Lee Rust Member
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    Not just a photo-journalist, but a humanist who understood how temporary and fragile life is and struggled to record as much of it as he could. His Jazz Loft project captured thousands of hours of informal performances by a host of distinguished 1950's and '60's musicians, and he apparently never made a dime from all those years of effort. His famous Minimata prints were withdrawn from public view at the request of the subject's Japanese family solely for the sake of their privacy. How many modern professionals would do that?

    Additionally, because of his promotion of the Olympus Pen F reflex cameras, he's a bit of a hero to those of us who shoot half-frame 35mm.
     
  17. jgoody

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    One of the greatest!! The Haiti photos are amazing, as were of course the country doctor essay and the series about the effects of mercury on a fishing village in Japan. I think he also did a series on one of the internment camps here during WW2.
     
  18. tedr1

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    There is an interview with him from around 1971 I think, by Bill Jay, I have it in Jay's book "Occam's Razor" by Nazraeli Press. The same book has many interesting essays on photography by Jay and is well worth obtaining.
     
  19. Trask

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    A lengthy but interesting biography. A driven man, war photographer (and injured in so doing), seems to have had difficulties maintaining personal relationships, loved music, as noted a printer extraordinaire. Photographed in Franco’s Spain, recall that he developed his film in a bucket or some such. Quite the guy, with a tremendous portfolio. I wish I could have met him...
     
  20. slackercrurster

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    Yes, masterpiece...unforgettable.
     
  21. slackercrurster

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    Yes, half frames were wonderful. Too bad they don't make a proper M43 like the old Oly Pen half frames, a true rangefinder with simplified manual controls.
     
  22. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member
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    There is a documentary about him that you might interesting, Photography Made Difficult.
     
  23. winger

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  24. Mainecoonmaniac

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    Yes. When I was in college, our class studied him. A few years back while in Chicago, I saw his Jazz Loft show and it was amazing. I never fully appreciated his work until back then. His prints never reproduced well. I think seeing his prints is a revelation. The sad thing is that a lot of his work was fueled with speed.
     
  25. jvo

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    also find the movie "the jazz loft", ( pix above were from the book and in the movie). it is about smith, his photography, his life, interviews with contemporaries, bosses, friends, insight into who he was - very good.

    yes, his work was fueled with speed - not unusual at the time.

    p.s. the dvd is worthwhile. on amazon?
     
  26. Mainecoonmaniac

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    Hey thanks for the tip. I'll look for the DVD or see if it's on Netflix streaming.
     
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