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Gelatin silver print
Image: 34.5 x 24.4 cm (13 9/16 x 9 5/8 in.); Paper: 35.4 x 28 cm (13 15/16 x 11 in.); Matted: 50.8 x 40.6 cm (20 x 16 in.)
Andrew R. and Martha Holden Jennings Fund 1988.62
Shortly after resigning from his position at
Life magazine, Smith was commissioned to
spend three weeks in Pittsburgh creating
100 photographs for Stefan Lorant’s book
commemorating the city’s bicentennial.
Remaining in Pittsburgh for a year, the
celebrated photojournalist generated nearly
17,000 images, producing the most ambitious
photographic essay of his career. He movingly
recorded all aspects of the intricate web of
social, economic, cultural, and political forces
comprising the city.
In this striking image, the factory worker’s
face—protected by a helmet and goggles, in
which reflections of fire appear—dominates the
composition. Eliciting great grace and power,
the photograph succinctly expresses Smith’s
extraordinary ability to blend his concern for
humanity with his superb aesthetic skills.
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