W. Eugene Smith
[Photographer, b. 1918, Wichita, Kansas, d. 1978, Tucson, Arizona.]
... and each time I pressed the shutter release it was a shouted condemnation hurled with the hope that the picture might survive through the years, with the hope that they might echo through the minds of men in the future—causing them caution and remembrance and realization.
I think photojournalism is documentary photography with a purpose.
The first word I would remove from the folklore of journalism is the word objective.
I can’t stand these damn shows on museum walls with neat little frames, where you look at the images as if they were pieces of art. I want them to be pieces of life.
In printing the photographs of the white-gowned Klan members I ran into considerable difficulty. There were several with uncovered faces and these faces were vividly dark in comparison to the white-white of the gowns that it was almost impossible to keep them from appearing black. I am terribly sorry. (Apology to his editor about images from his 1951 photo essay on the Ku Klux Klan in North Carolina.)
The journalistic photographer can have no other than a personal approach; and it is impossible for him to be completely objective. Honest—yes. Objective—no.
[I am] always torn between the attitude of the journalist, who is a recorder of facts, and the artist, who is often necessarily at odds with the facts.
I didn’t write the rules. Why would I follow them?