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Gene Smith's Sink

Nonfiction: History
Unabridged   5 hour(s)
Publication date: 08/22/2017

Gene Smith's Sink

A Wide-Angle View

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781681688176
Digital Download ISBN:9781681688183


The result of twenty years of research, Gene Smith's Sink is an unprecedented look into the photographer's beguiling legacy and the subjects around him.

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Product Description

Famously unabashed, W. Eugene Smith is photography's most celebrated humanist. During his reign as a photo-essayist at Life magazine in the 1940s and 1950s, he established himself as an intimate chronicler of human culture. His photographs of jazz musicians, disasters, doctors, and midwives revolutionized the role that image-making played in journalism, transforming photography for decades to come.

In 1997, lured by the intoxicating trail of people that emerged from Smith's stupefying archive, Sam Stephenson set out to research those who knew him from various angles. In Gene Smith's Sink, Stephenson revives Smith's life and legacy, merging traditional biography with highly untraditional digressions. Traveling across twenty-nine states, Japan, and the Pacific, Stephenson tracks down a lively cast of characters, including the playwright Tennessee Williams, to whom Smith likened himself; the avant-garde filmmaker Stan Brakhage, with whom he once shared a chalet; the artist Mary Frank, who was married to his friend Robert Frank; and Thelonious Monk and Sonny Clark, whom Smith recorded on surreptitious tapes.


"Sam Stephenson's brave and wise book, both more and less than a biography, is a spare demonstration of a huge idea: that nothing is ever finished and nobody is really knowable. And so the roundabout way to know a difficult and extraordinary creator like Gene Smith, or really anyone, may be the most effective and authentic way." —Ben Ratliff, author of Every Song Ever

"Sound is more present in Gene Smith's Sink than in any book I've ever read. . . . This stunning book resembles a Tennessee Williams play that obsessed Smith; it is the Camino Real of biographies." —Margaret Bradham Thornton, author of Tennessee Williams: Notebooks

Author Bio

Sam Stephenson is a writer and documentarian born in Washington, North Carolina. He is the author of Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith's Pittsburgh Project and The Jazz Loft Project: Photographs and Tapes of W. Eugene Smith from 821 Sixth Avenue, 1957–1965. He is a two-time Deems Taylor/Virgil Thomson Award winner.