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Photography > Journalism

Objective Camera, Subjective Truth

A documentary about W. Eugene Smith

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Objective Camera, Subjective Truth


DVD Price $250
Streaming Price (1 year) $250
Streaming Price (1 year) + DVD $375
Streaming Price (3 years) $600
Streaming Price (3 years) + DVD $725
Digital Sale, with 5 years free streaming
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W. Eugene Smith was already a renowned photojournalist, respected worldwide for his "Life" magazine essays, when he embarked on a personal journey to speak the truth as he saw it and shoot stories that would effect change.
"Minamata" was one of those stories. Smith and his Japanese-American wife Aileen documented the strange story of the death and disfigurement of people living in the fishing villages around the bay of Minamata, in southern Japan. It had long been known that the cause was the eating of fish from the bay, fish poisoned with methyl-mercury dumped by the nearby Chisso chemical factory. Chisso, its influential lawyers, and the Japanese government tried to hide the evidence and stop an investigation. But the Smiths persevered and brought the scandal to international notice. After years of delay, public demonstrations, court battles and the appearance of victims at an environmental convention in Stockholm, Chisso paid some compensation. But not before Smith himself had been severely beaten by some company men. The Minamata photographs established a new standard for crusading photojournalism and awakened millions to the nature of environmental pollution and the law.
In this documentary, made soon after their story was published, Eugene and Aileen Smith discuss their work with photo magazine editor James Hughes and writer William Pierce. They show many of the pictures that recorded the terrible drama as it unfolded - the victims and their lives, struggles with the company, the court battles and demonstrations, the poetry of defeat and victory.

William Eugene Smith was an American photojournalist. He has been described as "perhaps the single most important American photographer in the development of the editorial photo essay."

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