Jan 17, 2007

Devil Goggles

Devil Goggles


W. Eugene Smith

(American, 1918–1978)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 34.5 x 24.4 cm (13 9/16 x 9 5/8 in.); Paper: 35.4 x 28 cm (13 15/16 x 11 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)

Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1988.62



Shortly after resigning from his position at Life magazine, Smith was commissioned to spend three weeks in Pittsburgh creating 100 photographs for Stefan Lorant’s book commemorating the city’s bicentennial. Remaining in Pittsburgh for a year, the celebrated photojournalist generated nearly 17,000 images, producing the most ambitious photographic essay of his career. He movingly recorded all aspects of the intricate web of social, economic, cultural, and political forces comprising the city. In this striking image, the factory worker’s face—protected by a helmet and goggles, in which reflections of fire appear—dominates the composition. Eliciting great grace and power, the photograph succinctly expresses Smith’s extraordinary ability to blend his concern for humanity with his superb aesthetic skills.

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