March 08 - April 27, 2013
W. Eugene Smith: I Have Tried To Let Truth Be My Prejudice
"All praise Gene Smith; for me, he is the paragon of the functional photographer. He attends his themes, he sees magnificently, and he prints beautifully." - ANSEL ADAMS
"I feel Gene's photographs reflect a great turmoil. They are captured between the shirt and the skin. This camera, anchored in the heart, moves me by its integrity." - HENRI CARTIER BRESSON
W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was famous at twenty and a legend by forty. From his early work photographing WWII, shooting during combat and air raids, through the 1950s, he reconceived the photographic essay to be more deeply humanistic, compassionate and expressive. Over the years, he traveled from New York and Pittsburgh to Spain, Japan, the American South and Africa, shooting influential photo-essays, including "Country Doctor," "Spanish Village," "and "A Man of Mercy."
This exhibition will present 40 iconic W. Eugene Smith images - the Guardia Civil stand fiercely, the Country Doctor has a quiet moment of respite, Three Generations of Welsh Miners look proudly into the camera with sooty faces and a 1950s Pittsburgh looks as though it's burning with industry. Also on view will be A Walk to Paradise Garden, perhaps Smith's most well known image that was the end piece of Edward Steichen's seminal exhibition, The Family of Man, at the Museum of Modern Art in 1955.
Perhaps Smith's greatest masterpiece is not any one of his photographs, but his overall career. Out of the confusions of his life and personality he was able to establish and maintain the argument of moral responsibility, saying "I want to comment with 'reasoned' passion. Passion, yes, for passion is in all great searches and it is necessary to all creative endeavors... I am a compassionate cynic, yet I believe I am one of the most affirmative photographers around. I have tried to let truth be my prejudice. It has taken much sweat. It has been worth it."
Smith's photographs have been shown in exhibitions throughout the word and many major museums contain his work in their permanent collections. Numerous monographs have been published on his photographic output. Univerally accepted as the leading photojournalist of his time, this exhibition at the Weinstein Gallery represents the first extensive showing of Smith's work in the Midwest in more than a quarter of a century.