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.”

Get Magnum news and updates directly to your inbox

Stay in touch
Monthly updates on the latest assignments, photographer projects and collaborations with brands.
Know when our quarterly 7-day square print sale is coming.
Learn about online and offline exhibitions, photography fairs, gallery events, plus fine print news and activities, on a monthly basis.
Get fortnightly tips and advice articles, find out about the latest workshops, free online events and on-demand courses.
Be the first to know about recent Magnum Shop drops. From new books and limited editions, to special offers, you can find it all on the weekly Magnum Shop newsletter.
Stay up to date every Thursday with Magnum photographers’ activities, new work, stories published on the Magnum website, and the latest offerings from our shop.