Saturday, December 18, 2010
I know that name Edward John Smith does not ring a bell for a lot of people. But if you go to Wikipedia and read this man’s bio you understand that a lot of people know him even without remembering his name. Yes, Edward John Smith was the captain of Titanic and died together with this famous ship when RMS Titanic sank in 1912.
Yes Edward John Smith was captain of RMS Titanic and the ship sank. But should we blame or hate Captain Smith for this disaster? Well, everyone has own answer to this question. But it is important to know how uneasy it was to command a ship like Titanic at that time to fully comprehend the situation and possible reasons of the disaster. RMS Titanic was one of the first Olympic-class passenger liners (extremely large ships) and the largest passenger steamship in the world. Therefore she was a unique ship and Edward J. Smith was one of the first captains to command such vessels. Although the ship was designed by the best engineers and equipped with the most advanced technologies available at the time, it was extremely difficult to navigate a huge ship during a long transatlantic voyage without today’s usual satellite navigation systems, advanced weather forecasting and high quality wireless communication systems. Such ship could be entrusted only to the most experienced and skillful captain. Now, imagine how it was to command a ship of a new class, which size could be compared to a small town, with equipment of early 1900s while managing the crew of 860 people and being often involved in small talks and dinners by first class passages of high standing to whom you cannot refuse. I do not believe that any normal person can foresee everything that could happen with the ship in the ocean. In fact, anything could have happened, and even now people who investigate the disaster argue about the real reason of Titanic sinking and failure to avoid the collision with an iceberg (or pack ice according to some alternative theories). I do not believe though that Captain Smith is directly guilty of the disaster as there were too many factors and risks which could be out of his control. Captain Smith was one of the pioneer captains who commanded the world’s biggest passenger liners and the saddest thing about pioneers is that they often get it wrong with new experience as they set their fist steps on an unknown ground without being aware of when and where the ground may fail. They reveal their mistakes for the future generations to learn from. The next Olympic-class liner Britannic built after the loss of Titanic had undergone some important design changes based on the Titanic disaster investigation. It is really sad that innovations making our lives safer cost us thousands of other people’s lives… We are all in God's hands and we must remember that we are all weak people who can control almost nothing in our lives and we can only rely on God’s mercy no matter how big and safe things we try to build.
I’ve recently searched for Edward John Smith in Google to find out that there are only a few photographs of the Titanic cap and all of these pictures are of poor quality. Therefore I could not help drawing a portrait of this brave and experienced captain paying him a tribute which he deserves. I have also made a video showing the drawing progress. I included a wonderful piece of music by Gavin Bryars called “The Sinking of the Titanic” to the video to make it as emotional as possible. I hope you are going to like the video and the portrait.
Portrait of Edward John Smith
|Edward John Smith|