Iconic Photos

Famous, Infamous and Iconic Photos

Albert Schweitzer in Lambaréné

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The recipient of 1952 Nobel Peace Prize in 1953 was German doctor Albert Schweitzer (1875–1965), who was also a theologian, musician and philosopher. Although the Peace Prize was given for his philosophy of “Reverence for Life”, it was also given for the founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, French Equatorial Africa.

The next year, journalists and photographers flocked to Lambaréné. W. Eugene Smith–the father of the photoessay–was among them. In the photoessay “A Man of Mercy” later published in LIFE, he documented Dr. Schweitzer, his hospice, and his humanitarian work in French Equatorial Africa. A perfectionist, and darkroom master, Smith spent up to five days developing and manipulating Schweitzer photographs. 

Smith’s work is one of the flattering ones 78-year old Schweitzer received. Other journalists (for instance, James Cameron) pointed out flaws in the practices and attitudes of Schweitzer and his staff. The hospital suffered from squalor, was without modern amenities and Schweitzer had little contact with the local people, although Cameron withheld the story for the great humanitarian’s sake. The American John Gunther was more blatant: he reported Schweitzer’s patronizing attitude towards Africans, the lack of skilled Africans, and Schweitzer’s dependence on European nurses after three decades.

Written by Alex Selwyn-Holmes

May 5, 2009 at 11:45 pm

Posted in Society

Tagged with ,

One Response

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  1. Hello? My name is Soo-jung Hong, currently working as a photographer of Tomorrow Publications.

    Our Tomorrow magazine is the best educational magazine in Korea Republic which focuses on nurturing leaders of the next generation by covering the basic principles of politics, social science, culture, science and technology.

    Since it has begun last October, it still lacks in many ways, but we’re working hard with a good purpose to be a standing point for the future of the youths in the world.

    We’d like to insert your heartful photo in our magazine, as its quality and atmosphere go greatly well with the topic of our article which is about the history of the World.

    Our tomorrow magazine is mostly composed of voluntary support, free contributions from editors for the benefits of the youths all over the world, thus we’d like to ask for your support and dedication.

    And it’s a matter of course to quote your name and source of the target photo on the page.
    Hoping for your participation into the beneficiary job to provide college students with healthy mindsets, we courteously would like to ask for your considerate help and dedication.

    Now we’re around the deadline, so we’ll be looking for your response as soon as possible.

    P.S.: Please be considerate that we cannot attach you the article because it’s written in Korean. If you request we can send the designed article in PDF format.

    ——– We need the picture in the link below ——-



    Thank you so much.

    Soojung Hong

    June 25, 2010 at 6:47 am

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