W. Eugene Smith

Discussion in 'Photographers' started by moouers, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. moouers

    moouers Member

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    In Sept. of 2002 while I was a student at the University of Arizona, I saw W. Eugene Smith's "Dream Street" gallery at the Center for Creative Photography. Those images have haunted me since and out of curiosity I'd like to know what film he used. Anyone know?

    The prints were so dark, so haunting, so brilliant, so meticulous and immaculately done. They were also huge. If he did this on 35mm...I'm terribly impressed.

    By far the most amazing and one of the most touching exhibitions I have ever seen. Books and digital reproductions (same thing, really) do no justice to seeing the real print up close (and far away!) in person.

    Anyone else seen his exhibitions in person?
     
  2. erikg

    erikg Member

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    He was a master photographer and an amazing printer of his own work. I don't know if the prints you viewed were vintage or not, he didn't generally print "huge", but they could well have been. He shot 35mm primarily, but other formats as well. He helped push 35mm into the mainstream of press photography. Film? IDK, probably all sorts. His printing style employed the use of a reducing bleach to create the local contrast he was after. He was kind of a nut, but a great great photographer.
     
  3. Anscojohn

    Anscojohn Subscriber

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    He shot Tri-x after it came out; souped (mostly in D76), 2:1 (not a misprint) with water, and a little of the old developor to "take the edge off the grain" He printed dark, and brought low tones up with ferricyanide bleach. t
     
  4. df cardwell

    df cardwell Subscriber

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    He was a tormented angel stuck in this existence as a photographer,
    and made his soul speak though silver shadows. Be inspired,
    and stock your darkroom with music.
     
  5. Joe Lipka

    Joe Lipka Member

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    New show of Eugene Smith photographs. The Jazz Loft Project.

    A very interesting project from Gene Smith's time in New York City. from the linked website, "From 1957 to 1965 legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith made approximately 4,000 hours of recordings on 1,741 reel-to-reel tapes and nearly 40,000 photographs in a loft building in Manhattan's wholesale flower district where major jazz musicians of the day gathered and played their music. Smith's work has remained in archives until now. The Jazz Loft Project is dedicated to uncovering the stories behind this legendary moment in American cultural history."

    Plus photographs of the jazz musicians and photographs from his window of NYC streets.

    http://www.jazzloftproject.org/
     
  6. Marco B

    Marco B Member

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    I think you may find a few answers in this nice BBC documentary about Eugene Smith's 1950 UK trip and shots from South Wales. In parts 2 and 3 are clear shots of some of his contact sheets from that trip, showing he was not only using 35mm...

    Parts 1-4
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LjsYYKZdCo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=otVPk5Fp8Zo
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4ifXDEysLJ8
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5ytXxo0b7U

    Unfortunately embedding disabled, so can not be included in the APUG video section. Still worth the watch on YouTube.

    Marco
     
  7. moouers

    moouers Member

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    Thanks for the information and comments, everyone.
     
  8. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    Thank you. Not only is it historically interesting, but also in the 1980's I traveled through this area.

    It is also a different type of street photography than get discussed here.

    Steve
     
  9. Peter Schrager

    Peter Schrager Subscriber

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    Jazz Loft Show

    Jazz Loft Photo show....NY public library for the performing arts at Lincoln Center.....40 lincoln center plaza...Feb 17-May 27...Go see it!!
    Best, Peter
     
  10. cdowell

    cdowell Member

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    I saw the Dream Street exhibit at Duke. I agree -- it was really something and I can remember right now standing there and studying the grain. His blacks were like textured charcoal on paper, almost three dimensional.

    I wouldn't call the prints huge, though. I seem to recall few being longer than, say, 24-30 inches in the longest dimension. But my memory could be failing me. I do remember meeting Smith's son, who was a very nice man who works in public television.

    I think the Dream Street book turned out quite well, and give it as a gift fairly often. But you are right, some things you have to see in person. I went up to NYC once to see some huge, non-vintage prints of Bill Brandt's beach stuff. The grain was amazing. But by using scanned negs, it was something of a reinterpretation. Also at Duke, some years back, I saw huge prints done from scans of Walker Evans negs with tons more shadow detail.

    Whether it's right or wrong, I don't know. But these experiments are interesting to see.
     
  11. Robert Brummitt

    Robert Brummitt Member

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    I'm joinning a new photo study group and Mr. Smith is that month's subject. I have information of him and have a few images of his that are my favorites. But, I was wondering if any of you more Smith fans know who was his contempories at the time? I would like to do a comparson of his work to others.
    So hand over the names, folks!
     
  12. Louis Nargi

    Louis Nargi Member

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    Thanks this great.