“A GREAT PHOTOGRAPHER’S SPIRITUAL AUTOBIOGRAPHY”” BOLDLY SIGNED BY W. EUGENE SMITH, SCARCE FOLIO PORTFOLIO OF 16 STRIKING EXHIBITION-SIZE PHOTOGRAVURES
SMITH, W. Eugene. Let Truth Be the Prejudice. [Tokyo]: Nihon Shashin Insatsu Kaloushiki Kaisha, . Large folio, original white paper portfolio, 16 black-and-white photogravures (each measures 11-1/2 by 16-1/2 inches), loose as issued. $2200.
Important 1971 Japanese edition of this folio portfolio of 16 striking exhibition-size photogravures, loose as issued, boldly signed by W. Eugene Smith on the cover, a work that richly commemorates the opening of his Tokyo exhibit titled “Let Truth Be the Prejudice,” with iconic images such as his portait of a “Spinner” from Spanish Village—“long considered a classic.”
In February 1971 a major retrospective of W. Eugene Smith’s work opened in New York with a title chosen by him, “Let Truth be the Prejudice.” The exhibit was immediately hailed as a “a great photographer’s spiritual autobiography” (Village Voice), with images that sparked the electrifying tension “between the ‘still’ nature of the medium and the almost uncontainable momentum of the emotion it captures” (New York Times). Smith and Aileen Mioko Sprague supervised the exhibit’s move to Tokyo that same year, where this portfolio was issued with its striking assemblage of 16 exhibition-size photogravures. Here Smith’s finest work is seen in the iconic “Spinner” and “Death Scene” from Spanish Village (1950-51)—“long considered a classic” (Hughes, 7). Also herein is Smith’s elegant portraiture, selections from his wartime photography, and powerful images of Haiti, Welsh miners and Pittsburgh steel-workers. Later the same year Smith and Sprague moved to Minamata to document the area’s industrial pollution, resulting in the photobook Minamata (1975). Exhibitions such as this New York/Tokyo retrospective gave Smith a unique chance “to sequence his prints as well as to showcase their extraordinary richness” (Icons of Photography, 122). Publishing and biographical text in Japanese on the inside front cover; cover and photogravure captions in English.
Small closed tear to tab of portfolio. Photogravures in fine condition. Scarce.