Episode 2: Enter W. Eugene Smith

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W. Eugene Smith took this self-portrait in front of his fourth floor loft window.

Before photographer W. Eugene Smith lived in a rundown loft in the thick of New York’s jazz scene, he lived in another world. A native Kansan who earned a scholarship to Notre Dame, Smith was a staff photographer for LIFE magazine -- considered photojournalism's top job in an era when photographers were major stars. What compelled him to leave that life behind?


This is a slightly updated version of The Jazz Loft Radio Series, which first aired on WNYC in November in 2009, in conjunction with Sam Stephenson’s book “The Jazz Loft Project." We are re-distributing the entire series now on the occasion of the release of Sara Fishko's documentary, "The Jazz Loft According to W. Eugene Smith," which debuted at the New Orleans Film Festival in October of 2015.  

Thanks to the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University, our original partner in the production of The Jazz Loft Radio Series. 

The Jazz Loft Radio Series was supported in part by a grant from The National Endowment for the Humanities; and by an award from The National Endowment for the Arts.