History of Photography

Introduction History of Photography (Encyclopaedia Britannica)

A World History of Photography (by Naomi Rosenblum)

The Story Behind the Pictures 1827-1991 (by Hans-Michael Koetzle)

Photographers' Dictionary
(based on "20th Century Photography - Museum Ludwig Cologne")



Photographers' Dictionary

(based on "20th Century Photography-Museum Ludwig Cologne")




W. Eugene Smith

(From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)

William Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was an American photojournalist known for his refusal to compromise professional standards and his brutally vivid World War II photographs.
Born in Wichita, Kansas, Smith graduated from Wichita North High School in 1936. He began his career by taking pictures for two local newspapers, the Eagle and the Beacon. He went 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. He soon resigned from Life and was wounded in 1942 while simulating battle conditions for Parade magazine.
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, Smith continued at Life and perfected the photo essay from 1947 to 1954. In 1950, he was sent to the UK to cover the General Election, in which Labour, under Clement Attlee, was narrowly victorious. Life had actually taken an editorial stance against the Labour government, but Smith's essay was very sympathetic to Attlee. 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 again over the way in which the magazine used his photos of Albert Schweitzer. Upon leaving Life, Smith joined the Magnum photo agency in 1955. There he started his project to document Pittsburgh. This project consisted of a series of book-length photo essays in which he strove for complete control of his subject matter. Complications from his consumption of drugs and alcohol led to a massive stroke, from which Smith died in 1978.
Today, Smith's legacy lives on through the W. Eugene Smith Fund to promote "humanistic photography," which has since 1980 awarded photographers for exceptional accomplishments in the field.

The Walk to Paradise Garden, 1946


Tomoko Uemura in Her Bath
Minamata, 1972


Nurse Midwife Delivering Baby


Tribute to Kafka - Juanita


Burial at Sea from the U.S.S. Bunker Hill
Marshall Islands Campaign


Japan From Train Window


Steel Worker, Pittsburgh


Marine Mop-up
Following Japanese Suicide Charge
Saipan, 1944


Frontline Soldier with Canteen
Saipan, June 1944


Terry Moore crouches under shell attack
Okinawa, May 1945


Marine Demolition Team Blasting Out a Cave on Hill 382
Iwo Jima, 1945


Dr. Ceriani with injured child


Dr. Ceriani after the loss of a patient


Three Generations of Welsh Miners


Guardia Civil, Spain


The Spinner


The Wake


KKK, North Carolina


Dr. Albert Schweitzer Marking Timbers
during Construction Project


Hooded crowd with leader pointing to Smith


From "Pittsburgh"


From "Pittsburgh"


From "Pittsburgh"


Overview of hillside houses


Mad Hands


June, 1965


Industrial Waste
from the Chisso Chemical Company


W. Eugene Smith took this picture of a wounded soldier in Okinawa in 1945


Schweitzer, Aspen, Colorado


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