Monday, 17 October 2011

The Walk to Paradise Garden

Author:  W. Eugene Smith
Picture date: 1946
Publish date: 1955, "The Family of Man" exhibition in Museum of Modern Art

W. Eugene Smith was well-known war correspondent, famous for his brutal and sincere War World II photographs. His war wounds he gained after mortar strike on Okinawa, cost him two long years of hospitalization and plastic surgery. It was even not sure he would be able to return to photography. 

Then one day, he took his two children on a walk to a forest. Pat, older brother, took his sister, Juanita, by hand and lead her to show her something he discovered. Despite his sudden attack of pain, Mr. Smith was able to shot this picture, not perfect and unimportant to the world, but somehow beautiful. He described this moment in these words:

While I followed my children into the undergrowth and the group of taller trees – how they were delighted at every little discovery! – and observed them, I suddenly realized that at this moment, in spite of everything, in spite of all the wars and all I had gone through that day, I wanted to sing a sonnet to life and to the courage to go on living it….

Unfortunately, the photo had to wait 9 years to be published. Mr. Smith decided to submit it to Edward Steichen's famous Family of Man exhibition at Museum of Modern Art. Unexpectedly, the photo gained world recognition, became a finalist, and is considered iconic among all family photographs.

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