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Smith, Bradley (1910-1997) | Special Collections & University Archives

Name: Smith, Bradley (1910-1997)

Historical Note:

Bradley Smith was born on June 30, 1910 in New Orleans, LA.  He and his family moved to Karnes City, Texas when Smith was a child.  He began taking photographs of ranchers and cowboys who came through Karnes City at the age of 12.

During the 1940's while living in New York, Smith began working as a photographer for Life magazine.  He also worked as a freelance photographer for several other publications, including Time, The Saturday Evening Post, American Heritage, and Vogue.  Considered one of the earliest photojournalists, Smith also worked as an editor for Time magazine, and wrote and illustrated 23 books.  His books covered a wide range of topics from erotica to wildlife to foreign countries.  He is also known for photographing well-known public figures like Helen Keller, Mahatma Gandhi, and Harry S. Truman as well as jazz musicians Billie Holiday and Louis Armstrong.

In 1944, Smith formed the American Society of Magazine Photographers, or ASMP, an organization created to help photographers retain rights to their own work.  Still active today, the ASMP, now the American Society of Media Photographers, "promotes photographers' rights, educates photographers in better business practices, produces business publications for photographers and helps buyers find professional photographers."

Bradley Smith died of throat cancer in 1997 at the age of 87 in La Jolla, CA.


Note Author: Jennifer Hollander

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