Let the truth be prejudice


‘William Eugene Smith was born on December 30th, 1918 in Wichita (Kansas) and died in Tucson (Arizona) on October 15th, 1978. As he always said himself, Smith had a vocation for recording the human condition through words and photographs. ‘My position in life consists in capturing the action of life, the life of the world, its funny side, its tragedies, in other words, life as it real is – a true picture, immediate and real’ that is my ambition’. It is this passion for the real which spurred Smith in his work so that each assignment was not simply a photographic report but a challenge to turn a technical ability into a creation of art and a journalistic revelation. His ambition was to elevate his profession of photo – journalist to the plane of art – no, even further, to a level of the highest moral dimensions. It is surprising to see how he has in fact so well managed to achieve this aim. The same dramatic force is present in all his work; from his assignment as war correspondent between 1943 and 1945 (Saipan, Guam, Philippines, Iwo Jima, Okinawa) to later collections (Country Doctor, Spanish Village, Nurse Midwife). During most of this time Smith worked for ‘Life’ the famous American magazine. In 1954, he handed in his resignation following, as he himself stated, ‘diversities of artistic opinion’. The subsequent period (After-Life) was dedicated to independent projects (the ‘Pittsburg’ project and the article entitled’ ‘Miramata’). It was a period of intense personal suffering and poverty yet, at the same time, a moment of intense creativeness and artistic development. As Smith wrote, ‘I have never found the potential limits of photography. Every goal which is about to be reached reveals another further ahead. I am always on the threshold’. The Meeting exhibition has been staged with the support of the Aperture Foundation of New York and represents the largest retrospective on this exceptional photographer ever to come to Europe. The exhibition was held for the first time at the Jewish Museum of New York in 1970 and subsequently taken to Japan by Smith himself. This is the first time the exhibition has visited Europe. It is divided into five sections, ‘World War II’, ‘Postwar America’, ‘Abroad’, ‘After Life’, ‘Japan’. For the occasion Jaca Book has published a volume entitled ‘Let Truth be the Prejudice’ – W. Eugene Smith: ‘His life and photography’, which groups together all the photos of the exhibition.’


23 Agosto 1986 - 30 Agosto 1986


Exhibitions Meeting Exhibitions