Photography, Railroads, and Photography: Facing the Danger of the Big Time. W.C. Smith’s book explores the power and potential of photography as an art form, as well as a social force that can influence people and politics.
W.C. Smith was born in Texas, and has been an award-winning photojournalist for more than twenty years. He is the author of four books, including Photography, Railroads, and Photography: Facing the Danger of the Big Time. Smith is the current president of the New England Society of Photojournalists.
The New England Society of Photojournalists in America is an award-winning nonprofit photography society, founded in 1988. It represents over eighteen thousand photographers and is dedicated to fostering professional growth among members and promoting the cause of photography in all its forms. W.C. Smith is its president.
Most photojournalists began their careers as ordinary people doing the same thing as the storytellers in the newsroom.
Smith became a photojournalist by documenting what others saw in everyday life.
W.C. Smith admits to not knowing much about photography when he entered the field of photojournalism. He didn’t think his passion for his profession was that special, though. Instead, he was looking for something else.
As a young man, Smith worked on the docks on the Texas Gulf Coast, photographing railroad workers as they went about their business. In the early nineteen hundreds, Smith covered the Mississippi River Flood of 1927, while living on the river in La Junta, Colorado. In those days, he also started his own photography business and worked as a photographer for the U.S. army.
Photography, Railroads, and Photography: Facing the Danger of the Big Time contains stories from Smith’s experiences on the banks of the Mississippi. It is a travelogue about Smith’s time as a freelance photographer covering political campaigns in Washington, D.C. “Railroad” refers to the railroads, not necessarily just his assignments with them. “Photography” refers to both his photojournalistic work and his photography of railroad workers. The book is not about his artistic side, but rather about his time covering political campaigns as a freelancer, both on railroads and in cities and rural areas.
The book is titled after his term in the U.S. Army, “Photography, Railroads, and Photography: Facing the Danger of the Big Time,” and it shares the name of a famous time-lapse video series he shot that uses a wide-angle lens to capture the beauty of a train on a train, through the seasons.
W.C. Smith took his first photographs at age sixteen, when he went to Fort Meade to join the Army Signal Corps
. He soon fell in love with photography and turned to freelance work. His photos were featured in the daily newspapers in Texas and Missouri, and in magazines and periodicals like People, Rolling Stone, and Time.
Smith received his master’s degree in photography from the University of North Texas. It was there that he developed his skills for taking portraits. His artistic side soon came out in his photojournalistic work.
Railroads and photography are interrelated in the way that both make use of the medium of photography to convey their messages. W.C. Smith captures that element of railroads in his photographs. Both photojournalists look for new ways to tell the stories of the people that surround them in order to bring forth the richness of both the physical and the mental environments of these people.
Railroads and photography make for interesting reading. While photography is still considered to be a sort of art form, especially in comparison to advertising photography, Smith’s work makes clear that it also is a social force that can influence people and politics. like many other professional photographers of his generation, W.C. Smith sought to document the real people and places that shaped America and influence it’s history.