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#79: Country Doctor

July 21, 2009

Oh my: there is an absolutely awe-inspiring auction running on eBay this week that my sweet n’ wonderful mother brought to my attention. An original photograph by prolific American photojournalist W. Eugene Smith is up on the chopping block, from the heart wrenching photo essay “Country Doctor”, seen in LIFE Magazine in August of 1948.

Take a peek at the auction here, while it lasts. Act now and it could be yours for a modest four figure sum! Wish I may, wish I might.

Smith was known for going against the grain of professional standards and for depicting brutally vivid, honest images. He was fired from his job at Newsweek for refusing to part with his large format camera, and was wounded several times while photographing the front lines during World War II. My goodness, we have a hero on our hands here.

Selected images from “Country Doctor” as seen in LIFE Magazine, 1948, and a day in the life of Dr. Ernest Ceriani of Kremmling, CO.:
Dr. C - 1

Dr. C - 2
This little one had just been stitched up after being kicked in the head by a horse, two and a half years old.

Dr. C - 3
A 2:00 a.m. coffee break.

Dr. C -4

Country Doctor series

Country Doctor - 1

Dr. C - 5
From LIFE: “Country Dr. Ernest Ceriani carrying 85-year-old Thomas Mitchell from basement ward up to surgery because the hospital has no elevator, in order to amputate the old man’s gangrenous leg.”

Dr. C - 6
Post-amputation.

Eye Exam

Dr. C - 7
Different times.

Horseback
En route.

Hospital
A view of the 14-patient capacity hospital on an ominous afternoon.

Dr. C and fam
He works hard, and he plays hard…

And there is much more to learn and appreciate on the Eugene Smith Fund’s website, here.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. July 23, 2009 5:20 pm

    beautiful, REAL photographs. it was hard seeing the little one with the stitches (have a daughter of my own getting close to that age), but the photographs are breathtaking.

    two other things i love:

    -smoking while discussing an x-ray.
    -his resemblance to a young sinatra.

  2. September 10, 2009 1:04 pm

    great post. I wonder if they still have country doctors that make home visits?

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