W. Eugene Smith / Calling for Help, Okinawa / 1945W. Eugene Smith
Calling for Help, Okinawa

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Creator Name: Smith, W. Eugene
Creator Nationality: North American; American
Creator Role: Artist
Creator Dates/Places: 1918 - 1978
Biography: W. Eugene Smith American, 1918-1978W. Eugene Smith (born in Wichita, Kansas) was a master photojournalist known for his many photo essays in Life magazine. After working as a part-time newspaper photographer while in high school, Smith studied briefly atthe University of Notre Dame. He then moved to New York City in 1937, where his first job was with Newsweek. After a year at the magazine and a period of freelance work, he signed a contract with Life in 1939, but resigned two years later. His subsequentcareer as a war correspondent (1942-45) was interrupted after he was severely wounded by shell fire. Smith's first photograph after two years of convalescence, The Walk to Paradise Garden, became one of his most well known and was featured in the exhibition The Family of Man at the Museum of Modern Art, New York (1955). From 1947-54 he was once more associated with Life, producing a number of major photographic essays: "Country Doctor" (1948), "Spanish Village" (1951), "Nurse Midwife" (1951), and "A Man ofMercy" (focusing on Dr. Albert Schweitzer, 1954). In 1954 he again resigned from Life after a disagreement over the handling of the Schweitzer essay. The following year Smith joined magnum Photos and undertook a major photographic study of the city of Pittsburgh, receiving two fellowships from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation (1956, 1957). In 1957 he also began work on a new project, a series of photographs taken from his studio window. Smith spent several years in Japan in the 1960s (traveling there initially to make photographs for Hitachi Limited) and returned in 1971 to work on the powerful and moving Minamata photo essay, which portrayed a small Japanese fishing village whose inhabitants were poisoned by industrial pollution (first published in Life and then as a book). Until his death in 1978, Smith continued to photograph, teach, and exhibit. M.M.
Gender: M
Creator Birth Place: Wichita, KS
Creator Death Place: Tucson, AZ
Creator Name-CRT: W. Eugene Smith
Title: Calling for Help, Okinawa
Title Type: Primary
View: Full View
Creation Start Date: 1945
Creation End Date: 1945
Creation Date: 1945
Object Type: Photographs
Classification Term: Photography
Materials and Techniques: gelatin silver print
Dimensions: Image: 24cm x 34cm
Inscriptions: Written in brown ink on recto of mount: "Calling [g in blue ink] for Help. Okinawa 4/19-45"; "W. Eugene Smith [signed] / for LIFE [in blue ink]"; in blue ink on verso: "NM33"; in pencil on verso: "P-57"
AMICA Contributor: The Cleveland Museum of Art
Owner Location: Cleveland, Ohio, USA
ID Number: 1990.89
Credit Line: Edwin R. and Harriet Pelton Perkins Memorial Fund
Rights: http://www.clemusart.com/museum/disclaim2.html
Context: This remarkable photograph was taken on assignment for LIFE (but not published in the magazine) and is one of the best examples of the narrative, documentary images W. Eugene Smith took between 1943 and 1945 while covering World War II in the Pacific. In this photograph, taken during the Battle of Okinawa, Smith demonstrated his ability to blend his strong compassion for humanity with superb aesthetic skills. In this carefully balanced and illuminated composition, he captured the strain, frustration, and terror of the soldiers' situation. Bombarded by mortar shells and trapped by the fire of machine guns, they were unable to move forward or retreat.
AMICA ID: CMA_.1990.89
AMICA Library Year: 1998
Media Metadata Rights: Copyright, The Cleveland Museum of Art

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