Rodney Smith

“You don’t have to worry about being like anybody else if you can touch your own special voice, but you would be amazed at how people resist that. They do not want to go there because it’s a psychological journey; it’s not a mechanical journey. And people don’t want to deal with their past, their history, their emotional core, it’s too painful for them, so they stay on the surface and they make pictures that are alright, but not really powerful.” R.S.

Rodney Lewis Smith (Dec. 24, 1947-Dec.r 5, 2016); New York based fashion and portrait photographer.

Smith primarily photographed with a 35mm Leica M4 before he transitioned to a 120mm (medium format) Hasselblad with a 80mm lens. He prefers natural light to illuminate his subjects, but occasionally... ( )

Rodney Smith is a modest man with eclectic sensibilities. He can wear an ascot without appearing pretentious. He proclaims himself to be a closet optimist. He believes modernism took a wrong turn at the wrong time. He thinks Freud saved his life. He graduated Yale. He lives in a wooded enclave in Snedens Landing just close enough to Manhattan to meet an editor for lunch at a moment’s notice, but far enough away to mollify his disdain for city living. He loves books.

Paper. And printed matter. He wrestles with big Ideas and references Wittgenstein and Plato as if he saw them just yesterday. He’s tweedy. Never needy. Proud. Not loud. He’s a perfectionist. Workaholic. Worry wart and fuss budget. He won’t stop what he’s doing until he’s satisfied that it couldn’t be done any better. He’s adamantly analog. Only shoots film. Never uses special effects. And knows the darkroom like the back of his hand. His work is outside of time. He creates worlds whose logic is his own. He’s old school with a twist. A landscape photographer. Who places people in landscapes. A realist who...
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First Collected by

Olivia Griselda


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