Dreaming in Black and White:
The Legacy of W. Eugene Smith: Discussion with Kevin Eugene Smith
ABOUT THE EXHIBIT
An Informal Conversation with Kevin Eugene Smith on the Living Legacy of W. Eugene Smith and its influence on "Road Works," by David Darby, ASC and Charlie Lieberman, ASC. David and Charlie have led lives that have taken them down parallel paths. Both have been working as cinematographers, but they have also maintained their passionate pursuits in still photography. Finding the elusive image has also fed their ardor for another obsession, seeking what is down the road, traveling to distant places. The goal has been to find the perfect meeting of light, place and time.
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10% of the proceeds from the Photo Exhibit "Road Works" will benefit Mobile Film Classroom, a program that develops the next generation of storytellers by bringing digital media training to under-represented youth in grades 3rd thru 12th. See mobilefilmclassroom.org.
We imagine a world where all youth have the skills to tell their stories and equal opportunity for their voices to be heard.
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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER
W. EUGENE SMITH
W. Eugene Smith (1918-1978) was one of the pioneering photojournalists of the 20th Century. First coming to fame as a photographer chronicling the Pacific invasion during World War II, Smith was among a core of celebrated photojournalists for LIFE magazine during its heyday in the 1940s and 1950s. Smith is widely credited with being the creator of the "photoessay" or "picture story" that became LIFE's hallmark during those years. His most famous include "Country Doctor" (1948), "Spanish Village" (1951), "Nurse Midwife" (1951), and "Schweitzer: A Man of Mercy" (1954). After a simmering dispute with his editors boiled over following the Schweitzer story, Smith quit LIFE in 1954 to embark on a freelance career. He joined Magnum and immersed himself in his all-consuming "Pittsburgh" project (1955-1957), which was supposed to last two months and took two years instead. It became one of the most massive and revered bodies of work in the history of photography. From 1958-1970, Smith undertook a series of commercial and freelance projects, primarily living in a delapidated loft on Sixth Avenue in Manhattan. This loft, his photographs, and the tape recordings he made of legendary jazz musicians like Thelonious Monk who jammed in the building have recently been glorified in books, exhibits, documentaries, and live performances collectively known as "The Jazz Loft Project." Smith received redemption in 1970 with his retrospective exhibit at the Jewish Museum in New York, one of the largest one-man photographic exhibitions ever assembled. After that, Smith went on to create one more masterpiece: Together with his wife Aileen, from 1972-1975, he documented the mercury poisoning by the local chemical company of the Japanese fishing village of Minamata, becoming a hero to environmentalists in Japan and around the world. Shortly after accepting a professorship at the University of Arizona in 1977, Smith died in 1978. The cause was officially a stroke, but he actually died from "hard life." A visionary in blending photojournalism with fine art, Smith's work is featured in most major museums around the world that have collections of important photography. There are more than a dozen published books, in multiple languages, that showcase Smith's life and photographs. Smith's legacy is alive and well through the annual W. Eugene Smith Award in Humanistic Photography, now in its 36th year, which provides a grant to help photographers complete ongoing projects of social importance. Prominent winners have included Sebastiao Salgado, Eugene Richards, Donna Ferrato, and Graciela Iturbide. See www.smithfund.org.
KEVIN EUGENE SMITH
Kevin Eugene Smith is the youngest of W. Eugene Smith's five children and handles the affairs of the Smith Estate, primarily involving the licensing of photographic copyrights for reproduction in films, books, copyrights, and other media. He has lived in the Pasadena area for 23 years and this will be his first talk in Southern California about his father's work. Kevin was raised by his mother, photographer Margery "Maggie" Smith (aka Marjorie Lewis), in Philadelphia. Kevin never lived with his father, but they were close and visited each other numerous times every year, mostly at the Sixth Avenue loft in Manhattan. Although Kevin dabbled in photography when he was younger, he did not have any exceptional talent. He never wanted to be the equivalent of Frank Sinatra Jr. trying to live up to the legend of Frank Sinatra. Rather, Kevin channeled his interest in journalism in other ways. Kevin became the Editor-in-Chief of The Stanford Daily while in college. Later, he pursued a 22-year career in television news as a reporter and producer, primarily covering business and financial stories for national and international organizations, such as NHK Television in Japan, the old Financial News Network (FNN), and several PBS shows including "Nightly Business Report" and "CEO Exchange." Kevin also has a law degree from Berkeley and practices law as a backup career. Currently, he enjoys the freedom and flexibility of working from home on his own schedule while accepting appointments from the state of California to handle criminal appeals for indigent defendants.
ABOUT THE GALLERY
The Perfect Exposure Gallery is the recognized venue in Southern California to display the work of award winning and accomplished photojournalists as well as works of photographers that regard artistry and craftsmanship as a standard of excellence. The mission of the Perfect Exposure Gallery is to present exhibits free of charge to the general public with the following goals to exemplify the rich variety and impact of photography, freedom of expression, a forum for the aesthetic, the contemptible and the sublime.
Exhibition dates: Sunday 5, June 2016 to Sunday 5, June 2016