W. Eugene Smith 1918-1978

Born in Wichita, Kansas, W. Eugene Smith took his first professional pictures for a local newspaper while a senior in high school. He became keenly interested in reportage photography, and spent the rest of his life documenting many aspects of humanity. He became one of the most widely recognized photographers in U.S. history and is considered the father of the modern photo-essay. Smith initiated and perfected his photographic method during World War II and the post-war era.

He left Notre Dame University for a job with Newsweek magazine in New York City. His work was published in Life, Collier’s, Harper’s, and the New York Times, all before the age of 21. He began photographing for Parade Magazine, which allowed him to develop and refine the photo-essay style that was to be his legacy.

His photo essays included Pittsburgh; Ku Klux Klan; Atoms for Peace; Hitachi, Japan; and Minimata. His brilliant career came to a close with his death in 1978. This collection was donated to Dutchess Community College by Eugene Smith’s son, K. Patrick Smith. This permanent display is dedicated to the memory of his mother, Carmen Smith Wood, first wife of the late photographer and a 1979 graduate of the DCC Nursing program.