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William Eugene Smith
William Eugene Smith

William Eugene Smith

Country: United States
Birth: 1918 | Death: 1978

William Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist known for his refusal to compromise professional standards and his brutally vivid World War II photographs. Smith graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936. He began his career by taking pictures for two local newspapers, The Wichita Eagle (morning circulation) and the Beacon (evening circulation). He moved to New York City and began work for Newsweek and became known for his incessant perfectionism and thorny personality. Smith was fired from Newsweek for refusing to use medium format cameras and joined Life Magazine in 1939 using a 35mm camera. In 1945 he was wounded while photographing battle conditions in the Pacific theater of World War II. As a correspondent for Ziff-Davis Publishing and then Life again, Smith entered World War II on the front lines of the island-hopping American offensive against Japan, photographing U.S. Marines and Japanese prisoners of war at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. On Okinawa, Smith was hit by mortar fire. After recovering, he continued at Life and perfected the photo essay from 1947 to 1954. In 1950, he was sent to the United Kingdom to cover the General Election, in which the Labour Party, under Clement Attlee, was narrowly victorious. Life had taken an editorial stance against the Labour government. In the end, a limited number of Smith's photographs of working-class Britain were published, including three shots of the South Wales valleys. In a documentary made by BBC Wales, Professor Dai Smith traced a miner who described how he and two colleagues had met Smith on their way home from work at the pit and had been instructed on how to pose for one of the photos published in Life. Smith severed his ties with Life over the way in which the magazine used his photographs of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the Magnum photo agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project was supposed to take him three weeks, but spanned three years and tens of thousands of negatives. It was too large ever to be shown, although a series of book-length photo essays were eventually produced. From 1957 to 1965 he took photographs and made recordings of jazz musicians at a Manhattan loft shared by David X. Young, Dick Cary and Hall Overton. In January 1972, Smith was attacked by Chisso employees near Tokyo, in an attempt to stop him from further publicizing the Minamata disease to the world.Although Smith survived the attack, his sight in one eye deteriorated. Smith and his Japanese wife lived in the city of Minamata from 1971 to 1973 and took many photos as part of a photo essay detailing the effects of Minamata disease, which was caused by a Chisso factory discharging heavy metals into water sources around Minamata. One of his most famous works, Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath, taken in December 1971 and published a few months after the 1972 attack, drew worldwide attention to the effects of Minamata disease. Complications from his longterm consumption of drugs, notably amphetamines (taken to enable his workaholic tendencies), and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Smith died in 1978. He is buried in Crum Elbow Cemetery, Pleasant Valley, New York. Smith was perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay. In addition to Pittsburgh, these works include Nurse Midwife, Minamata, Country Doctor, and Albert Schweitzer - A Man of Mercy. Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund to promote "humanistic photography." Since 1980, the fund has awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.

(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

 

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More Great Photographers To Discover

Vlad Kutsey
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Vlad Kutsey is a self taught freelance photographer from Kyiv, Ukraine, who has dedicated the last 10 years to his greatest inspiration - expedition & adventure photography. He has found his personal treasure slightly outside the comfort zone in the tropical jungles or somewhere at several thousands meters above sea level where the lack of oxygen slowly reminds that you're just a guest of the harsh Mountain:) His deep passion of capturing life through camera lens has driven him to develop many important skills (rock climbing, backpacking, wild camping in extreme conditions, surviving in the jungle environment and on the remote uninhabited islands) that have motivated him to reach and explore untouchable and pristine places around the world. Vlad's work has appeared in dozens of publications of the world's famous companies, brands and magazines in print and online including National Geographic, Nat Geo Traveler, Canon, GoPro, The North Face, Garmin, The Village, Daily Mail and elsewhere. He also has won several national and international photography awards for his work. Vlad's passion has lead him to reach out and tell his stories through social media, blogging, video that follow his work to teach and inspire through workshops and social media meetups. Vlad is an official GoPro, Osprey, Garmin, ЇDLO and Turbat Brand-Ambassador in Ukraine He spends the vast majority of his time in expeditions around the globe with his wife Alona; they have co-founded and lead own travel community "Adventure Monsters" that specializes in unique off the beaten track adventures to the most remote spots of our planet including researching the culture of the world's most isolated tribes.
Roger Ballen
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Martin Munkácsi (born Mermelstein Márton; Kolozsvár, Hungary, May 18, 1896; died July 13, 1963, New York, NY) was a Hungarian photographer who worked in Germany (1928–34) and the United States, where he was based in New York City.Munkácsi was a newspaper writer and photographer in Hungary, specializing in sports. At the time, sports action photography could only be done in bright light outdoors. Munkácsi's innovation was to make sports photographs as meticulously composed action photographs, which required both artistic and technical skill. Munkácsi's legendary big break was to happen upon a fatal brawl, which he photographed. Those photos affected the outcome of the trial of the accused killer, and gave Munkácsi considerable notoriety. That notoriety helped him get a job in Berlin in 1928, for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, where his first published photo was a race car splashing its way through a puddle. He also worked for the fashion magazine Die Dame. More than just sports and fashion, he photographed Berliners, rich and poor, in all their activities. He traveled to Turkey, Sicily, Egypt, London, New York, and famously Liberia, for photo spreads in the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung. The speed of the modern age and the excitement of new photographic viewpoints enthralled him, especially flying. There are aerial photographs; there are air-to-air photographs of a flying school for women; there are photographs from a Zeppelin, including the ones on his trip to Brazil, where he crosses over a boat whose passengers wave to the airship above. On March 21, 1933, he photographed the fateful Day of Potsdam, when the aged President Paul von Hindenburg handed Germany over to Adolf Hitler. On assignment for the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, he photographed Hitler's inner circle, although he was a Jewish foreigner. In 1934, the Nazis nationalized the Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung, fired its Jewish editor-in-chief, Kurt Korff, and replaced its innovative photography with pictures of German troops. Munkácsi left for New York, where he signed on, for a substantial $100,000, with Harper's Bazaar, a top fashion magazine. In a change from usual practice, he often left the studio to shoot outdoors, on the beach, on farms and fields, at an airport. He produced one of the first articles in a popular magazine to be illustrated with nude photographs. His portraits include Katharine Hepburn, Leslie Howard, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Jane Russell, Louis Armstrong, and the definitive dance photograph of Fred Astaire. Munkácsi died in poverty and controversy. Several universities and museums declined to accept his archives, and they were scattered around the world. Berlin's Ullstein Archives and Hamburg's F. C. Gundlach collection are home to two of the largest collections of Munkácsi's work.(Source: en.wikipedia.org)
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