Early on in the 70's I learned of W. Eugene Smith. He was the epitome of the "concerned" photographer. He was famous for his photo essays, highly regarded by photojournalists. I read stories about his obsessiveness with his subjects. I subscribed to Camera 35 when he was given the entire issue to layout photos of his Minimata essay. I read books about his Life magazine essays. When I began doing newspaper photography in the mid-70's, Smith was a legend and I wanted to do photo essays like his. He was the photographer I most emulated. I was fairly successful on a very small scale, winning a few state and regional--even a couple of national--press photography contests with my photos. When Smith died in 1978, I mourned for his loss. I quit working as a photographer in 1991. Photography became my passion again instead of my job. I began to reassess a lot of what I had previously done and what I previously thought about photography. One of these aspects was my feelings for Gene Smith. After reading a couple of biographies, I started having trouble resolving the feelings I have about Smith and his photos. On the one hand, he was dedicated to his projects. On the other, he was neglectful of his family responsibility. On the one hand, he sought perfection. On the other hand, he was controlling and self-centered. As a person, I have a lot of difficulty with anyone who shirks responsibility, especially toward his loved ones. As to his photography, I still consider the "...Paradise Garden" photograph as one of my all-time favorites--probably my favorite photograph ever. The photo of Tomoku in her bath from the Minimata essay is heart-rendering. His 1965 photograph of Thelonious Monk (one of my musical heros) is the one I remember most when I listen to Monk's music. The women at the wake and the closeup of the troops (or police officers--not sure which right now) from the Spanish Village essay are memorable. Others also come to mind... I could go on but won't. On the other hand, there was the Pittsburgh project. I have the book that was released a few years ago and I consider the whole thing second-rate and a waste of effort on Smith's part. I'm also having trouble with Smith's purpose in his essays. He always pushed a point of view with open advocacy. I guess I can resolve this, at least partially, because Smith never claimed to be objective. I can even accept the manipulations and the combination printing he did to some degree. What I find most distressing is when I think of W. Eugene Smith turned loose today with a DSLR and Photoshop. I know I've babbled too long. If you've managed to read this far, do you have any comments?