W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]

 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. 
 If I can get them to think, get them to feel, get them to see, then I’ve done about all that I can as a teacher. 
 ... my pictures are complex and so am I. When I am almost symbolistic in writing, there is a more limiting differences of accepting, while I can be even more complex in the photographs and people can usually accept them within the framework of their own limitations or lack of limitations—there is no dictionary meaning... they can look up for the photographic image and allow it to confuse them... 
 I was after a set of pictures, so that when people looked at them they would say, “This is war”—that the people who were in the war would believe that I had truthfully captured what they had gone through... I worked in the framework that war is horrible. I want to carry on what I have tried to do in these pictures. War is a concentrated unit in the world and these things are clearly and cleanly seen. Things like race prejudice, poverty, hatred and bigotry are sprawling things in civilian life, and not so easy to define as war. 
 I frequently have sought out those who are in the least position to speak for themselves. By accident of birth, by accident of place—whoever, whatever, wherever—I am of their family. I can comment for them, if I believe in their cause, with a voice they do not possess. 
 My camera, my intentions stopped no man from falling. Nor did they aid him after he had fallen. It could be said that photographs be damned for they bind no wounds. Yet, I reasoned, if my photographs could cause compassionate horror within the viewer, they might also prod the conscience of that viewer into taking action. 
 In music I still prefer the minor key, and in printing I like the light coming from the dark. I like pictures that surmount the darkness, and many of my photographs are that way. It is the way that I see photographically. For practical reasons, I think it looks better that way in print, too. 
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