W. Eugene Smith

The Spinner. Deleitosa, Spain, 1951

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As staff photographer for LIFE magazine, W. Eugene Smith traveled to Spain in 1950 to document repression and poverty under the harsh regime of its dictator, Francisco Franco. Smith embedded himself in Deleitosa, a small town of 2300 residents untouched by progress. The story appeared in the April 9, 1951, issue of LIFE, which later called “Spanish Village” perhaps the most famous of its photo essays. The original caption of this photo, known widely as “The Spinner,” read: “A peasant woman moistens the fibers of locally grown flax as she joins them in a long strand which is spun tight by the spindle, then wrapped around it.” The book Let Truth Be the Prejudice described the photo as “possibly the most beautiful image Smith ever made” while its subject “wears the black cloth of village women, a costume of perpetual mourning and subservience.”


Gelatin silver print
Open edition
Estate stamped

11 x 14 in / 28 x 36 cm
16 x 20 in / 40 x 50 cm
20 x 24 in / 50 x 60 cm


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