Photographs by W. Eugene Smith / Magnum Photos
There is a long list of photographers who have influenced me and my work, but near the top would be the photo essays of W. Eugene Smith. It’s easy to point to much of Smith’s familiar work (especially for LIFE), but one of his lesser known projects documenting the city of Pittsburgh created some of my favorite of his images. Born and raised just 90 minutes down I-79 from Pittsburgh, it’s the closest major city to my hometown and it holds a special place in my heart. I love these images for capturing what Pittsburgh was at the time that has made the city what it is today — working-class, proud, gritty and beautiful.