In 1951 Life Magazine was at it’s best and this issue had one of the best photographic essays ever by W. Eugene Smith. The 12 page story is titled "Nurse Midwife Maude Callen Eases Pain of Birth and Death" The story follows Maude and her work in Pineville, South Carolina (Berkley County) and takes you on "Maude’s 16-Hour Day" In 1951 "There are only nine trained Midwives in South Carolina and 300 in the nation" and Maude was one of the 20,000 common midwives practicing. This is a wonderful story with pictures of a way of life that has slipped by.
This winter, Foam presents a retrospective containing work by W. Eugene Smith (US, 1918-1978). Smith has been hailed as the founder of the photographic essay. His extensive pictorial narratives, accompanied by captions and comments, appeared in magazines such as the world-famous American periodical Life in the 1950s, the heyday of photographic journalism. Smith’s black-and-white reportages exhibit a powerful sense of involvement, dealing with subject matter that reflects his social commitment.
Foam features six of his finest series, including The Country Doctor (1948), acclaimed as photojournalism’s first official photo essay. Other famous series such as Nurse Midwife, A Man of Mercy, Spanish Village, Pittsburgh and Minamata are also shown in the exhibition. Alongside the photos, magazines are on display as well as the short documentary entitled Lamp Unto My Feet.
It was in this magazine that he published about fifty series, including The Country Doctor, Nurse Midwife, A Man of Mercy and Spanish Village.
The Life and Work of Photographer W. Eugene Smith from Ulrich Museum of Art on Vimeo.