W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Project
Legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith's epic study of Pittsburgh in the 1950s.
In 1955, having just ended his high-profile but stormy career with Life magazine by resigning, W. Eugene Smith was commissioned to spend three weeks in Pittsburgh and produce one hundred photographs for noted journalist and author Stefan Lorant's book commemorating the city's bicentennial. Smith stayed a year, compiling nearly sixteen thousand photographs for what would be the most ambitious photographic essay of his life. But only a fragment of the work was ever seen, despite Smith's lifelong conviction that it was his greatest set of photographs. Now, in an astonishing, first-time assemblage, edited by Sam Stephenson, of the group of core pictures that Smith asserted were the "synthesis of the whole," we see a portrayal not just of Pittsburgh but also of America at mid-century by a master photojournalist. In his accompanying essay, Alan Trachtenberg provides a critical reading of Smith's photographs, assessing Smith's attempt to document visually an American city in the context of the time period.
- October 2003
- 9.6 × 11 in
/ 176 pages
- Territory Rights: Worldwide
Endorsements & Reviews
“The fortunate match of a brilliant picture-maker with one of America's most important and arresting industrial cities at its zenith.” — Chronicle of Higher Education
“Smith's attempt to record the paradoxes of city life in America...was harnessed to an enormous talent, and he wasn't far from the mark when he wrote that his essay would 'create history.'” — New York Times