William Eugene Smith was born in 1918 in Wichita, Kansas. He took his first photographs at the age of 15 for two local newspapers. In 1936, Smith entered Notre Dame University in Wichita, where a special photographic scholarship was created for him. A year later he left the university and went to New York City, and after studying with Helene Sanders at the New York Institute of Photography. In 1937, he began working for News-Week (later N ewsweek ). He was fired for refusing to use medium-format cameras and joined the Black Star agency as a freelancer.