(Jose R. Lopez/NYT Institute)
I’m sure if I called myself a frustrated photographer I wouldn’t be doing the art justice. I am by no means an expert photographer or photojournalist, but I deeply admire the art. Anyone can take a photograph, but only a few can make it truly good.
On Friday, the students of The New York Times Student Journalism Institute were given a tour of the photographer W. Eugene Smith’s archive, most of it original prints, at the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona.
It is one of those photographs I never truly understood was real. I envisioned it as a fantasy, a barren land formed only from my experiences watching gritty war films like “Paths of Glory” (1957) or “All Quiet on the Western Front” (1930). But it was real, and the photograph made it so.
Smith draws the viewer directly into the photo and frames the fragility of the human body against the destruction of the explosion. This level of access, risk and realism encompasses true photojournalism.
And it makes me jealous.
— James Wagner