W. Eugene Smith was what many have called the Master of Picture Story/ Essay during the era of LIFE magazine in 1950-1970.
Smith was born in Wichita, Kansas and began his love for photojournalism at the ripe-old age of 14. It is said that Smith wanted to work so badly that he offered his services to the newspaper for free and when they turned him down he offered to pay them.
He was known for his crazed perfectionist habits in the darkroom and even more known for his love of burning and dodging. So the saying goes, “when in doubt, burn it out.”
During his time at LIFE magazine, Smith worked on various photos of the war, during which time an explosion went off causing him to lose hearing, mess up his jaw and caused trouble with one of his eyes. Smith endured a two-year-long recovery for the injuries sustained.
After two years, Eugene Smith took his first picture since the injury, the picture was that of his children walking out of a garden-type scene and into the light. The picture, The Walk to Paradise Garden, was displayed in a gallery and was recognized around the world.
Smith took time to take several more picture essay photos such as Country Doctor, Nurse Midwife, Albert Shweitzer and, the most well-known, Minamata.
He died shorty after taking up a teaching position, but to this day is known as a man obsessed with making the world a better place through his work.