“LEGENDARY IN THE HISTORY OF PHOTOGRAPHY”: ASSOCIATION COPY OF W. EUGENE SMITH’S DREAM STREET
SMITH, W. Eugene. Dream Street. W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project. New York and London: W.W. Norton, (2001). Quarto, original photographic self-wrappers. $500.
First edition, softcover issue, of Smith’s “magnificent vision of light and dark,” with over 150 striking photogravures of Pittsburgh at mid-century, most full-page, this association copy signed on the second photogaphic leaf by Eugene Smith’s longtime partner, photographer Margery Lewis Smith.
“W. Eugene Smith went to Pittsburgh in 1955 asking for trouble,” writes Alan Trachtenberg. Smith himself described this attempt to photograph Pittsburgh as “beyond ending.” Yet he persisted in this attempt to create a fundamental photo-essay on “man, machine and society,” ultimately producing nearly “17,00 negatives and hundreds of work prints, one of the most haunting monuments to an unrealized intention in the history of photography… Smith risked his soul in Pittsburgh” (163-6). Critics praised this posthumous work, calling it a “Finnegans Wake in the grand canyons of Pittsburgh… a magnifient vision of light and dark” (Evening Standard). “This epic portrait of Pittsburgh has become legendary in the history of photography” (B&W). With over 150 photogravures, most full page, some included in Smith’s landmark photo-essay for the 1959 Photography Annual; also containing Smith’s magazine layout of 88 images. First edition in wrappers published same year as cloth, no priority established. Edited and with introduction by Sam Stepehenson. As issued without dust jacket and printed coincident with the November 2001 exhibit at Pittsburgh’s Carnegie Museum of Art. A signed copy from the library of Margery Lewis Smith, whose work was featured in Steichen’s 1955 Family of Man exhibit, and who was a longtime partner of Eugene Smith.
A fine association copy.