Vision  //  ARTIST’S STATEMENT  ••  BLOG  ••  VIDEO
Vision  //  ARTIST’S STATEMENT  ••  BLOG  ••  VIDEO

My creative process is intricately connected to how I examine my own life, how I got to know myself, how I drew clarity from my emotions and translated them into pictures. Taking photographs was my way of reconciling the mundane with the ideal, of reconciling my fears, and shifting from anxious loner to participant. It was with my camera that I began to find intimacy.

Today, a great deal of Western culture seems rooted in remoteness, anger, alienation, and squalor. I want people to see the beauty and whimsy in life, not its ugliness. I feel the need to reach out for its soul, its depth, and its underlying beauty. I represent a world that is possible if people act their best. It’s a world that’s slightly beyond reach, beyond everyday experience, but it’s definitely not impossible.

I trust my instincts to get to the heart of the matter. First, I find the location, then everything else follows. If you watched me work, you would see me move around, and suddenly stop when I’ve found the right spot to take a picture. It’s an intuition about proportion and scale, and how I am relating to the subject. It’s not an intellectual concept; it is an emotional concept. Composition is like rhythm in music—it’s where everything is in sync. It’s where the whole picture comes together succinctly and carefully.

I am meticulous in my craft. I expose and process the film by hand, slowly, and work to produce an exquisite artifact, the print. I labor to produce a thing of beauty. For me, the print is the creation, the purpose—the result of my endeavor.—rodney lewis smith

Rodney Smith began blogging in 2009. The irony of this was never lost on Smith himself, who had a lifelong aversion to both modern technology and modern culture. Every week he posted an essay that accompanied his images. Readers were drawn to Smith—to his wit, and candor— and empathized with what they saw as their shared struggles and dreams. Ultimately more than 500,000 people, from all walks of life, followed Smith’s blog, which he characteristically titled “The End”.

This free-flowing conversation with Rodney Smith is an excerpt from a feature film now in development, Mr. Smith Goes to Wonderland. In it, Smith explains that photography was really his response to the world—an attempt to bring order out of chaos, understanding out of confusion, wisdom out of ignorance, and beauty out of despair. “It is a make-believe world I am trying very hard to make real once again.”
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