W. Eugene Smith was a war correspondent for LIFE magazine when he was hit by mortar fire at Okinawa in 1945. He was severely injured and spent two years recovering. Smith was in violent pain when he photographed his two children famously walking into a clearing. I have an update on A Real Moment where Smith describes how he felt while shooting Walk to Paradise Garden via Iconic Photos.
Smith returned to LIFE in 1947. He is said (by somebody on Wikipedia) to be the “perhaps the originator and arguably the master of the photo-essay.” This photo-essay is Spanish Village.There are 18 photographs in total. LIFE’s title of their link is LIFE Behind the Picture: W. Eugene Smith’s ‘Guardia Civil,’ 1950.
But, as the years have passed, the most chilling image from the piece — the closed, hard faces of three members of Franco’s feared Guardia Civil — has been exalted to a point where the essays’ other masterful, evocative pictures have been largely forgotten.
In that spirit, I won’t forget to post a different picture.
“Lorenza Curiel, 7, is a sight for her young neighbors as she waits for her mother to lock door, take her to church.”
Meanwhile, in the 1951 article itself which accompanied Smith’s pictures, the magazine told its readers:
The village of Deleitosa, a place of about 2,300 peasant people, sits on the high, dry, western Spanish tableland called Estramadura, about halfway between Madrid and the border of Portugal. Its name means “delightful,” which it no longer is, and its origins are obscure, though they may go back a thousand years to Spain’s Moorish period. In any event it is very old and LIFE photographer Eugene Smith, wandering off the main road into the village, found that its ways had advanced little since medieval times.
NOTE: Besides, it would not make sense to pair the cold, hard faces of Franco’s feared Guardia Civil with Walk to Paradise Garden!