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W. Eugene Smith [Hardcover]

W. Eugene Smith , John Hughes
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

May 1999 Aperture Masters of Photography
Photographs by W. Eugene Smith
Essay by Jim Hughes

"My station in life is to capture the action of life, the life of the world, its humor, its tragedies, in other words, life as it is. A true picture, unposed and real."--W. Eugene Smith

W. Eugene Smith is the master of the photographic essay; he created essays which include some of the most dramatic and affecting single images of the twentieth century. Fiercely energetic, he made countless photographs memorable for their formal brilliance and for their compassion. This volume of Aperture's Masters of Photography presents more than seventy of Smith's greatest photographs, selected from work created over the course of forty-five years.

Smith's interests were broad; his work spanned subject matter from the process of birth to the horrors of death in action. Included here are photographs from Smith's most celebrated photo-essays, including "Country Doctor," "Spanish Village," "Pittsburgh," and "Minamata," as well as examples of his World War II work and selections from the later, more introspective work made in his loft in New York City.

In his introductory essay, Jim Hughes, Smith's biographer, provides an overview of Smith's life, and insight into his work.

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About the Author

Born in Wichita, Kansas, in 1918, W. Eugene Smith was a combat photographer during World War II, and worked for Life magazine during the 1940s and 1950s, producing more than fifty photo-essays. In the early 1970s, he photographed in Minamata, Japan, a small village affected by industrial mercury poisoning.

Jim Hughes, former editor of Camera Arts, the Photography Annual and Camera 35, is the author of W. Eugene Smith: Shadow & Substance, Ernst Haas in Black and White, and The Birth of a Century.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction Nov. 6 2003
Format:Hardcover
If you are interested in photography and want to see a good introduction on an excellent photographer, buy this book. The Aperture edition has most of Smith's important pictures and discusses his personal/professional dilemma, which generally should be read very critically in art books, which informs us of the tension in the photographer, which is the important element of good photojournalism. In photojournalism, the tension should be the informing pointer as to what is going on in the picture.
Smith is one of the most important photographers from the 20th century. His influence was great and his work on the photo-essay is defining (e.g. his Life magazine essay on Dr. Ceriani in 1948). His most memorable photo was of Tomoko Uemura with her son in 1972).
Other 20th century photographers you may want to discover or learn from are: Eugene Atget (late-19th/early 20th C), who documented Paris for artists, but whose work influenced the existential air of 20th century photography; Alfred Eisenstadt (mid-late 20th C), who, in my opinion, was the father of modern photo-journalism; and Mary Ellen Mark (late-20th C), who captured the zeitgeist of late-20th century better than most photographers, who tended to project meaning onto their subjects, rather than receive them as Mark was and is so adept at doing.
Of the many photo books on the shelves, this one is worth your time and money.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  3 reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction Nov. 6 2003
By thisisgibbie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
If you are interested in photography and want to see a good introduction on an excellent photographer, buy this book. The Aperture edition has most of Smith's important pictures and discusses his personal/professional dilemma, which generally should be read very critically in art books, which informs us of the tension in the photographer, which is the important element of good photojournalism. In photojournalism, the tension should be the informing pointer as to what is going on in the picture.
Smith is one of the most important photographers from the 20th century. His influence was great and his work on the photo-essay is defining (e.g. his Life magazine essay on Dr. Ceriani in 1948). His most memorable photo was of Tomoko Uemura with her son in 1972).
Other 20th century photographers you may want to discover or learn from are: Eugene Atget (late-19th/early 20th C), who documented Paris for artists, but whose work influenced the existential air of 20th century photography; Alfred Eisenstadt (mid-late 20th C), who, in my opinion, was the father of modern photo-journalism; and Mary Ellen Mark (late-20th C), who captured the zeitgeist of late-20th century better than most photographers, who tended to project meaning onto their subjects, rather than receive them as Mark was and is so adept at doing.
Of the many photo books on the shelves, this one is worth your time and money.
6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Eugene Smith-Master of the Chiaroscuro Photo April 3 2006
By Marco Antonio Abarca - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Eugene Smith was one of the greatest photographers of the Twentieth Century. He worked as a photojournalist from the 1930's until the 1970's. Smith was able to elevate his photographs from the realm of journalism into high art. His best photographs use the contrasting effect of light and dark in the chiaroscuro tradition of Spanish Master, Francisco Zurbaran.

This volume is part of Aperture Masters of Photography Series. At under ten dollars, there is no better introduction one can find on the life and work of Eugene Smith. The publisher of this volume is Koneman, a German company well known for the high quality of its productions. This book is a good value and is highly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars The W. stands for Wonderful Jan. 25 2014
By A Reader - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a great brief summary collection of his works. As I would expect from Aperture, the repro quality is great, considering the price. If you can only have one sample of his work, this is a good one. Equally, It is a nice place to start building a collection.
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