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

 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. 
 Many claim I am a photographer of tragedy. In the greater sense I am not, for though I often photograph where the tragic emotion is present, the result is almost invariably affirmative. 
 I would that my photographs might be, not the coverage of a news event, but an indictment of war—the brutal corrupting viciousness of its doing to the minds and bodies of men; and, that my photographs might be a powerful emotional catalyst to the reasoning which would help this vile and criminal stupidity from beginning again. 
 1942: Freelanced, choosing assignments; later felt freedom misused because of creative immaturity; that photographs made had “great depth of field, very little depth of feeling.” In later repudiation of this period of work, acknowledged that subsequent photography was a logical development of the past and not representative of a drastic shift in values. 
 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. 
 The care I give the prints and the agony I go through making them makes it a most unpleasant—but necessary—task. 
 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. 
quotes 33-39 of 39
first page previous page page 5 of 5
display quotes