Although he was only a member of Magnum for four years between 1955 and 58, acclaimed photographer W. Eugene Smith had a lasting impact on both the agency and photojournalism in general. Smith compared his mode of working to that of a playwright; the powerful narrative structures of his photo essays set a new benchmark for the genre.
His series, The Country Doctor, shot on assignment for Life Magazine in 1948, documents the everyday life of Dr. Ernest Guy Ceriani, a GP tasked with providing 24-hour medical care to over 2,000 people in the small town of Kremmling, in the Rocky Mountains. The story was important at the time for drawing attention to the national shortage of country doctors and the impact of this on remote communities. Today the photo essay is widely regarded as representing a definitive moment in the history of photojournalism.
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