W. Eugene Smith – Magnum Photos

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W. Eugene Smith

William Eugene Smith (b. 1918) was born in Wichita, Kansas. He took his first photographs for two local newspapers at the age of 15. In 1936, Smith entered Notre Dame University in Wichita, where a special photographic scholarship was created for him. He left the university to go to New York City, and after studying at the New York Institute of Photography he worked for News-Week (later Newsweek). Smith worked as a war correspondent for Flying magazine and, later, Life.

He followed the island-hopping American offensive against Japan, where he suffered severe injuries while simulating battle conditions for Parade, which required him to undergo surgery for the next two years. Once recuperated, Smith worked for Life and joined Magnum Photos. Smith died of a stroke shortly after moving to teach at the University of Arizona. The W. Eugene Smith Fund was established to award photographers that exhibit exceptional accomplishments in the field.

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