Quote of the Week by W Eugene Smith


“Up to and including the moment of exposure, the photographer is working in an undeniably subjective way. By his choice of technical approach, by the selection of the subject matter…and by his decision as to the exact cinematic instant of exposure, he is blending the variables of interpretation into an emotional whole.” —W Eugene Smith (1918-1978)

W. Eugene Smith was an American photographer known for his role in developing the editorial photo essay. Smith’s photos evoke an acute sense of social awareness and empathy in viewers. Born in Wichita, Kansas, Smith was introduced to photography at a young age by his mother, Nettie. He honed his craft throughout his adolescence, gaining prominence at around the same time as Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson, and George Rodger. As a wartime correspondent in the Pacific theater during the second world war, Smith aimed not only to depict current events, but also to expose the tragedies of wartime and stir the conscience of his viewers. After the war, Smith created a series of photo essays for LIFE Magazine, always taking time to immerse himself in the lives of his subjects. His emotional approach to photography was unique among photojournalists of the time. In 1956, Smith left LIFE Magazine, as he began to view himself as an artist more than a journalist. He dedicated the rest of his life to his art, creating an extensive collection of photo essays in locations from Pittsburgh to Minamata, Japan. Today, his works are on display in the collections of The Art Institute of Chicago, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, and the Tel Aviv Museum of Art, among others.