"Nurse Midwife" (1951) photo essay on midwife Maude E.
Eugene Smith s extraordinary black and white photo essay for LIFE W.
For W. Eugene Smith, work mattered. Throughout his legendary career, he sought out and chronicled the lives and the labor of people who knew their craft. Whether he was photographing a world figure like Dr. Albert Schweitzer in Africa or anonymous Welsh coal miners; a doctor in the Rockies or a midwife in South Carolina; Smith saw something noble in hard work, and something profoundly admirable in men and women who cared enough to do their work well.
W. Eugene Smith's Landmark Photo Essay, 'Nurse Midwife'
When W. Eugene Smith died in Tucson, Arizona in 1978, he left behind a legacy of some of the most powerful photographs in the history of journalism. His personal approach to integrating his life into the lives of his subjects revolutionized the somewhat new form of photojournalism known as the photo essay. His body of work remains one of the primary bridges between photojournalists and fine art photographers. In the end W. Eugene Smith’s greatest gift was his life long insistence that journalistic photography always search for the depth and humanity of its subjects.