Dream Street & The Jazz Loft Project
About Dream Street:
New edition of poignant selected images from famed Life photographer W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh project.
In 1955, having just resigned from his high-profile but stormy career with Life Magazine, W. Eugene Smith was commissioned to spend three weeks in Pittsburgh and produce one hundred photographs for noted journalist and author Stefan Lorant’s book commemorating the city’s bicentennial. Smith ended up staying a year, compiling twenty thousand images for what would be the most ambitious photographic essay of his life. But only a fragment of this work was ever seen, despite Smith's lifelong conviction that it was his greatest collection of photographs. In 2001, Sam Stephenson published for the first time an assemblage of the core images from this project, selections that Smith asserted were the “synthesis of the whole,” presenting not only a portrayal of Pittsburgh but of postwar America. This new edition, updated with a foreword by the poet Ross Gay, offers a fresh vision of Smith's masterpiece.
About The Jazz Loft Project:
Reissue of an acclaimed collection of images from photographer W. Eugene Smith’s time in a New York City loft among jazz musicians.
In 1957, Eugene Smith walked away from his longtime job at Life and the home he shared with his wife and four children to move into a dilapidated, five-story loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue in New York City’s wholesale flower district. The loft was the late-night haunt of musicians, including some of the biggest names in jazz—Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk among them. Here, from 1957 to 1965, he made nearly 40,000 photographs and approximately 4,000 hours of recordings of musicians. Smith found solace in the chaotic, somnambulistic world of the loft and its artists, and he turned his documentary impulses away from work on his major Pittsburg photo essay and toward his new surroundings.
Sam Stephenson is a writer from North Carolina now based in College Station, Texas. He is the author of a book on Smith, Gene Smith’s Sink, as well as editor of Dream Street: W. Eugene Smith’s Pittsburgh Project, also published by the University of Chicago Press.