One of my favourite parts of being in photojournalism school is my history class. The last time I took a history course was in my first year in university and it was terrible. History of photojournalism is not your typical history course.
Last week we learned about W. Eugene Smith. He's an American photojournalist who struggled his entire professional career to abide to the truth. He did not believe in compromising any of his professional standards. If his photos in a magazine or newspaper didn't fit with his personal vision, he would be really upset if they were published. He believed in truth and integrity when it came to photography.
We watched a documentary/video on his life and his struggle with photography. It was called "W. Eugene Smith: Photography Made Difficult".
It was painful to watch at times because of how real and emotional he was with photography. Some may say it was excessive, but all he wanted was to be honest.
As I take on different projects I find myself in constant turmoil with what I'm doing. I don't want to just do something for the sake of doing it. There has to be purpose and reason to everything I do. Maybe I'm an idealist, realist, dreamer, whatever... I just don't like the status quo. I can't fake something or pretend to like something when I don't.
Before I went to Korea in 2009 I was barely going through life. You know... merely surviving and always looking forward to the next best thing. In high school, my goal was to get to university. During university it was to graduate, after graduating it was to find my career, marriage, the next country I could visit, etc. I lived each day in anticipation for the next. I was a zombie; alive but dead.
Not until I became honest with myself and sought after the truth was I able to truly become alive. I had been swallowed up by lies and confusion. I believed I was good for nothing. I believed I had no real purpose in this world, I believed I was unwanted and I would never be good at anything. What a terrible way to live. To fight against these lies without any truth to back you up.
I've learned the importance of being honest with myself, remaining true to what I believe in even if the whole world is against it, and fighting for the truth.
In everything you do, do it with honesty. Anything that is real will last forever; imitations and counterfeits are cheap and eventually breakdown; they become useless.
My principle concern is for honesty, above all honesty with myself..." - W. Eugene Smith
With considerable soul searching, that to the utmost of my ability, I have let truth be the prejudice. - W. Eugene Smith
the truth will set you free