Comparing Documentary Photographer W.Eugene Smith (Usa) and Edwin Koo (Singapore)

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I. Introduction Documentary photography captures meaningful moments or chronologic events, by producing realistic photographs about a subject accidentally or intentionally. These factors sometimes confuse documentary photography with photojournalism, which is taken more spontaneously. For documentary photographers, it is very important to tell a story as well as allowing viewers to interpret the idea using their own knowledge and experience. That makes documentary photography more calculative and discriminates it from photojournalism. War is one of the most explored themes for documentary photographers. But unlike some other photographers who reflect the pain, suffering, hardship of the war, these following two photographers have a more sympathetic way of approaching their subjects by trying to record all aspects of life after the war. In this essay I will estimate the works of two photographers from USA and Asia, W.Eugene Smith and Edwin Koo, based on the analysis about their similarities and differences through social contexts and visual styles. PART 1. Visual styles: W.Eugene Smith, known as one of the leading masters of contemporary documentary photography as well as photojournalism because of his diversity in choosing themes for the projects, had learned photography at 13; and when he was 21 his work had been featured in famous magazines such as Newsweek, Life, Harper’s Bazaar, New York Times. And Edwin Koo - who was born 60 years after Smith - was first introduced to photography when he was studying photojournalism in the university. Having lived in the struggling time, W. Eugene Smith had used his ability and his preferred 35mm cameras to photograph from the land, the sea, the sky; to produce one of the most fierce and strongest records of World War II in the South Pacific. It was his own approach that made him recognized as one of the “bridges

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