Things, life, intervened.
The year was 1966. I had only been a serious photographer for a little over three years. I was in the military living in Northern Virgina and had daily access to Washington D.C.. One trip into the Capitol I discovered a photo exhibit at the Smithsonian. It was the 'The Family of Man', an exhibition by Edward Steichen for the Museum of Modern Art in N.Y.C. on loan to Smithsonian. I was blown away. I went back several times and spent hours of awe and envy. That was the greatest photographic learning experience of my life.
Up to this point 90% of my own photography had been in black and white. My two favorite pictures were by Dorothea Lang. At the top of my list was her "Migrant Mother" and second was her 'White Angel Bread Line, San Francisco'.
After seeing this exhibition, in which both of those prints were superbly displayed, my favorite photograph changed. Lang's masterpieces dropped down to number 2 and number 3. The were replaced by a photograph by Eugene Smith: 'Walk Into Paradise Garden'.
Walk into Paradise Garden
Smith had been a photographer in WWII. I had seen his work and liked it. But I had never run across this picture. Smith was taking pictures of Marines on Okinawa when he was seriously wounded by mortar fire. It took two years of operations and pain before he could function as a photographer again. The story was he was in a hammock in his backyard working with his cameras when he saw this scene of his children. This was his first photograph published after his war experience.It was like Smith had crawled into my soul. A child was being led by a child from the dark though a tunnel into the light. A child leading a child towards....home. Smith's own title says that he saw the mystical memory himself.
There are hundreds of photographs and photographers, black and white, color, abstract, you name it, that I love. This one has never been pushed from my first place.
White Angel Bread Line
So, what photograph has grabbed you or haunted your mind? Share with me.