William Eugene Smith (December 30, 1918 – October 15, 1978), was an American photojournalist, renowned for the dedication he devoted to his projects and his uncompromising professional and ethical standards. Smith developed the photo essay into a sophisticated visual form. His most famous studies included brutally vivid World War II photographs, the clinic of Dr Schweitzer in French Equatorial Africa, the city of Pittsburgh, the dedication of an American country doctor and a nurse midwife, and the pollution which damaged the health of the residents of Minamata in Japan.
As a correspondent for Ziff-Davis Publishing, and then again Life Magazine, Smith was often on the front lines in the Pacific theater of World War II. He was with the American forces during their island-hopping offensive against Japan, photographingU.S. Marines and Japanese prisoners of war at Saipan, Guam, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa. In 1945, while he was photographing battle conditions on Okinawa, Smith was hit by mortar fire. After recovering, he continued at Life, until 1954.