Eugene and Aileen Smith’s Minamata Work Featured in Virginia

This coming weekend at William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA, Aileen Mioko Smith will speak about the work she and her then-husband W. Eugene Smith completed in Minamata, Japan in the 1970s, documenting the tragic effects of mercury pollution in that fishing village.  Her appearance is part of a conference called Mercury: A Hazard without Borders organized by the Mercury Sustainable Inquiry Group.  The conference features a unique and intriguing blend of environmental science and visual arts, including an exhibition of Smith’s images from Minamata which promises to be extraordinary.

As we know Gene Smith had an increasingly hard time finishing anything in a manner that satisfied him.  I’m sure Ms. Smith’s decision-making abilities allowed their legendary book, Minamata, to become a reality.  If Smith had had her partnership for Pittsburgh and Jazz Loft he might have completed those projects, too (and I would have been looking for work for the past thirteen years).  Ms. Smith lives in Kyoto, Japan so this is a rare opportunity to hear her speak, and seeing the Minamata photographs in person should be something to behold.

-Sam Stephenson


  1. Kevin Smith Said,

    April 20, 2010 @ 2:42 am

    Wish I could be there! Say hi to Aileen for me. Very unusual for her to be showing the photos in such a public setting. One minor correction: Aileen lives in Kyoto….

  2. admin Said,

    April 20, 2010 @ 5:18 pm

    Thanks for the correction on Kyoto, Kevin.