Gene Smith in Wichita 1977

The following portrait of Gene Smith was made by Terry Evans in Wichita in 1977, on the occasion a retrospective exhibition.  It was the last visit he made to his hometown.   He died the following year at age fifty-nine, after two strokes.  Throughout his career he maintained an interest in human hands:  the handcraft of musicians in the JLP series, a variety of human expressions in others, from tenderness to outrage.  After re-examining her negative yesterday Terry told me Smith was holding a pen in this picture.  Before Terry’s revelation, photographer Kate Joyce, a friend of Terry’s from Chicago, suggested Smith was holding an “air” camera, like an air guitar.  I think they are both right.

Gene Smith in Wichita, 1977. Photograph by Terry Evans.

Gene Smith in Wichita, 1977. Photograph by Terry Evans.



  1. Stephen Dupont Said,

    December 1, 2011 @ 6:31 pm

    It’s and air Leica! What a classic…eccentric and poetic like the man himself.

  2. Michael Seiwert Said,

    December 3, 2011 @ 3:21 am

    Great portrait! I’d love to have this as a silver print in my living room!