"Spanish Wake" by Eugene W. Smith
Published in LIFE Magazine, Issue TK, Date TK

This exhibition will explore disputed images in photojournalism and documentary photography--photos that have been faked, posed and retouched. From the American Civil War until this year’s World Press Photo contest in which judges disqualified 20% of the finalists for excessive manipulation, some photographers have taken liberties with their images, misled the public or made mistakes of judgement and execution. This groundbreaking exhibition examines many of the most prominent cases and shines a spotlight on what constitutes acceptable documentary practice and ethical photojournalism.

"Although Smith sought to create “a true picture, unposed and real,” he was known to manipulate the negatives of his images. Two of the women from Spanish Wake,the wife (see detail above) and the daughter, were looking almost directly at Smith when he took the image, but Smith solved this problem in the final print."
- Smith College Museum of Art 

Learn more:

  • Interview with Eugene Smith
  • Eugene Smith's darkroom techniques

Image copyright Eugene W. Smith