Tuesday, September 4, 2012

W. Euguene Smith, photographer

I went to see photos, I saw life.
At times so much like mine,
the recognition choked me,
though stunned I craved more
until I understood.

His dark shadows focus light
to enlighten the moment's
eternal pixels shattering
my heart, or piercing me deeply
like a bullet killing my illusions.

So this is art, huh?
Not just depth of field
but true depth of feeling.
No pretty frames to distract.
Just raw humanity viewed,
perhaps askew,
by one whose mind tilted
through drugs and fast living.

Still he saw and felt all that jazz
reverberating through lives.
A thief, he captured time -
flashes of truth,
testimony of treasure
each instant contains.

And I know now.
I saw no pictures,
I saw my soul
through his.

"Tomoko in the Bath" by W. Eugene Smith

(Submittdd to Dverse Poets.)

I really enjoyed visiting an exhibit of W. Eugene Smith's photos in California.  The ones I saw were taken mostly in New York, from a loft where he spent much of his later, jazz-influenced years.  I felt like I was reliving my youth in New York's dirty, glorious streets.

My husband has admired this photographer's work since we were in college (at least a hundred years ago).  He was so happy that I enjoyed the exhibit as much, if not more than he.


  1. I can tell from your words that you really identified with this photographer, that he really shared his vision with you. I really like your last words:

    "I saw my soul
    through his."

    I will have to check out some of Eugene Smith's work. The one you shared is rich with feeling.

  2. I remember this photograph and again, I am stunned by his work..."raw humanity" is perfect description ~ Glad that you enjoyed the exhibit ~

  3. You could not be moved by this art, if the beauty and truth were not already in yourself.

    Aloha, Friend
    from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral

    > < } } ( ° >

  4. wow sounds really moving....and i love that...when you can see the artists heart in their work.....will def have to check into him some more....

  5. oh wow...he sounds like an excellent photographer...would love to see some more of his work.. and i so know what you mean by seeing the own soul in the work of an artist...awesome..

  6. i so totally get this....so much....being a photographer...as i go about trying to capture what i feel....vis a vis what i see....

  7. really neat lines here. Love where a poets inspiration can take them. Very nicely done. Thanks

  8. Beautiful. If you saw your own soul through his work, he has accomplished what he set out to do. I'm sure he would be thrilled to know he inspired this beautiful poetry and, I can see what you are saying about his use of shadow to emphasize the light.
    Really lovely poem.

  9. Good to see how the photograph inspired you

  10. That photograph is terrifying when you really look at it--I think you describe the depth of reaction perfectly--yes, art is often a shock that shakes things loose from normal and makes us see in a different way. I'm now very curious about this man, and will look him up.

  11. Beautifully written. Art inspiring writing--writing inspiring art. It makes a perfect combination!

    Mary Montague Sikes

  12. What an incredible poem. Your words have me thinking, Myrna.

  13. A wonderful write and I love .... I saw my soul through his.... Love it !

  14. This is beautiful..... That is what art is supposed to do, true expression of life and it's innate beauty should capture us, leave our souls falling into it, square pegs into square holes, round pegs into round holes. Everything falls into place at once and we can see the mirror image of our own love, and hate, and fear, and joy, and sadness. The best of it really steals my words away, leaving me unable to share it. I envy you for that, because you have done that so incredibly well here.....

  15. Photographs have a way of freezing the frame and the framed. I just love photographs. Smith looks like an engaging photographer and I have to be checking up more on him. These lines sum it all up:

    ". . . And I know now.
    I saw no pictures,
    I saw my soul
    through his. . . ."

    Thanks for introducing us to this artist, Myrna through your fantastic verse.

    Joy always,

  16. thanks for introducing a stunning photographer...great post

  17. Dear Myrna,
    I can truly say I learn something today. Great words with a great photograph. I am truly impressed with this one. Thanks for sharing my friend.