W. Eugene Smith took a dramatic photograph of Ryoko Uemura, holding her severely deformed daughter, Tomoko, in a Japanese bath. Both Tomoko and Ryoko were poisoned by the release of methyl mercury in the industrial wastewater from the Chisso Corporation’s chemical factory from 1932 to 1968, called Minamata disease. Tomoko was poisoned while still in the womb and she died in 1977 at the age of 21.
For his expose of this photograph, Smith was attacked and injured by Chisso employees which left him with a permanently damaged eye and a crippled health. The photos, however, led the government to take more direct actions and the company to pay compensation to 2,500 people.