LAMBARENE, GABON (WEST AFRICA)
PUBLISHED NOVEMBER 1954
PHOTO BY W. EUGENE SMITH 

REPRESENTATION:
Dr. Albert Schweitzer at work with African laborers at his medical clinic in Gabon. This photo was captioned in LIFE magazine as: “Toilers, Schweitzer and a carpenter, watch hospital building.”  This was the lead image in a photo essay on Schweitzer by legendary documentary photographer W. Eugene Smith.

REALITY:
Over 30 years after its original publication, researcher Glenn Willumson found that Smith had combined two distinct negatives to create the photo that was published in LIFE Magazine, adding the silhouetted saw handle and human hand in the lower right of the frame. 

W. Eugene Smith, already considered a legend at the time of this photo’s publication, developed and printed his own work and did not allow anyone else to handle his negatives. This process made it nearly impossible for LIFE to detect the manipulation, which would have violated their photojournalistic guidelines.


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Image copyright W. Eugene Smith