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uploaded: Mon, May 20, 2024 @ 8:56 AM
FeaturingSo Sha
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William Eugene Smith is one of the great photographers of our times. His documentary work earnt him not only the praise of his employers but also that of his peers. In August 1971 he went with his soon to be wife Aileen Sprague to the small fishing village of Minamata in Japan to document the effects of Mercury poisoning caused by waste chemicals put into the water by the Chisso Industrial company. It is estimated that during the 30 years in which the pollution occured 900 people died and thousands more were permanently effected as a result of the mercury in the water. During the three years he spent in the village, Smith produced many iconic images and nearly lost his life when he was seriously beaten and attacked by thugs recruited by the company. Eventually the company took some responsibity but even up to this day refuse to compensate fully all those effected by their disregard for nature and the people of Minamata.

Big thumbs up to Johnny Depp for his beautifully sensitive interpretation of the events and to So Sha for her angelic additions which I have manipulated to create some of the backing vocals

A photo is a small voice but sometimes
It can wake our senses and make us all aware
Its a catalyst to get our thoughts moving
Start us on a journey we can share

Now when Chisso’s brought the work to Minamata
The townsfolk queued to get themselves a job
And for thirty years they worked blind to the dangers
Not knowing that their futures would be robbed

And Eugene came with Aileen and his cameras
To take the photos that would show the world the pain
That Chissos had inflicted on its workers
And the families that would never be the same

Now for three long years the Smiths stuck to their mission
To show the world the danger that was there
The Minamata bay was full of Mercury
And at Chisso’s well nobody cared

They lied denied and threatened all the people
And a gang of goons beat Eugene to a pulp
But the townsfolk still continued with their protests
Eugene and Aileen never would give up

by Radioontheshelf

2024 - Licensed under
Creative Commons
Attribution Noncommercial (3.0)

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