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. - Rodney Smith
Born in New York City, Rodney Smith (1947-2016) developed his extraordinary eye over the course of 4 decades. Starting his career as a photo-essayist he found his stride with portrait photography which led to his greatest art in fashion photography. Taught by Walker Evans at Yale and greatly inspired by Ansel Adams, Smith was dedicated to technical mastery as well as beauty; he only shot in natural lighting and in black & white until 2002. His sophisticated compositions and stylish characters exist in a timeless world of grand, romantic scenes with quiet allure while also reflecting his innate playfulness with whimsical and surreal visual twists. It in this paradox that his work lives, holding a timeless appeal while feeling astonishingly fresh.
Join us on Friday, July 7th for gallery walk with Paul Martineau, Curator of Photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum, and Leslie Smolan, Executive Director of the Rodney Smith Estate, in celebrating the release of Rodney Smith: A Leap of Faith published by Getty Publications. This lavish volume features nearly two hundred reproductions of Smith’s images—many that have never before been published—and weaves together a biocritical essay by Paul Martineau and a technical assessment of Smith’s production by the Center for Creative Photography’s chief curator, Rebecca A. Senf. In 2021 the J. Paul Getty Museum acquired 10 of Smith's beloved images.
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