Wednesday, October 14, 2009

W. Eugene Smith in Pop Photo

Gene Smith shot this photograph that ran on the cover of the November, 1945, issue of Popular Photography. By November of '45, Smith was convalescing in the hospital, recovering from shrapnel wounds to his face. This photo was shot the year before; presumably while home from the Pacific. Pretty cool image for the time.

Here is the text from the above page:
W. Eugene Smith entitles his picture of Miss Hazel Scott "The Hot Spark of the Blues." He made the picture at Cafe Society Uptown in New York, about a year ago, when Miss Scott was appearing there.
Smith writes that the picture "was shot from a tripod sitting on the edge of the top of the piano. The piano was reverberating with the pounding it was receiving most of the time I was setting up the camera." He was trying to show Miss Scott as a great artist of the piano, and in doing so, he thinks he had "to slaughter the looks of the young lady."
The camera he used was a 4x5 Speed Graphic with a 5-1/4 inch f 4.5 Zeiss Tessar lens. The exposure was made on Kodachrome film, Type B, with 6 flashbulbs. A 2A (yellow conversion) filter was used, and the picture was taken open flash with the lens stopped down to f 16.

Interestingly, this following item is on the next page. It's from a list of gossip items about photographers:

This is positively the last story (I promise) on W. EUGENE SMITH and his adventures in the hospital following his injury on Okinawa, but everyone who knows "Idea Man" FRED SPARKS will appreciate it. When Gene was in the hospital at Guam he had many visitors, but he was too weak to do much more than lift his hand slightly in recognition. When Sparks was sent as a Look correspondent to the Pacific theater, he stopped at Guam, poked his head in the door of Gene's room. Gene took one quick look and said painfully: "I want to go back to Okinawa."

Not only did Gene Smith not get back to Okinawa but he didn't even shoot for the two years it took him to recuperate from his wounds and the subsequent plastic surgery.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So when Chinese Photographer Lu Guang was falsed photogrphs, so he can win the 2009 prize of W Eugene Smith prix? Embrace or lie? Lie will be sucessed.