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I love photography

I use this blogspace to share my work with the world, but here I would like to talk about my philosophy and the machinations that I employ to create a final piece. To quote one of my favorite artists, Jeff Alu, “Photoshop is my second camera.” Like Jeff I only employ point-and-click cameras (Canon A1100IS), throwaways and my iPhone. The print images I scan into my cheap HP Photosmart C4480 printer/scanner/photocopier. Some photos look fine as is. Perhaps all I’ll do to it is crop it down a bit. In other cases I create a new image from the one that I captured from a brief moment in time and space. An extreme example might be the digital painting of the Metro Building that I published on this blog on June 13 of this year.

© Russell Smith

The cat is out of the bag. Digital art is here to stay. Some bemoan the loss of exclusivity of 35mm cameras, dark rooms with their magic potions and mystical transference of images from film to print. I think that the popularization of photography can only lead to new and exciting experimentation with it from the abstract to the figurative.
I have several iterations on the Internet:

Since I showed you an example of a figurative piece of work that I created using Photoshop, let me show you something a bit more abstract that I published in Beautiful Pictures back on March 30th of this year. Enjoy.

Far out, man!

Now the final example is of a photo that I took with a throwaway and then scanned into the HP to create a jpeg file. This was posted on Beautiful Photographs on August 27, 2010.

© Russell Smith, 2011

I love videography too

I am really in the beginning phase of learning how to manipulated video files. But to quote a line from the Exorcist, “Give us time.”


For those of you who groaned and smacked your forehead when I mentioned my iPhone (3GS), I would like you to see this photo essay that appeared in the news magazine Foreign Policy on July 25, 2011. All of the photos were taken with an iPhone and manipulated with a new app called Hipstamatic. In their own words,

 […in this unique collection of photographs, largely taken on iPhones using an app called Hipstamatic that allows users to digitally manipulate “lenses,” “flashes,” and “film stock,” we found something exceptionally powerful: a record of the lives of U.S. Marines in Helmand province in 2010 and 2011 and of the Afghans they interacted with.

Take a look at “The War in Hipstamatic,” as the photo essay is called. It proves several points that I am trying to make. First of all, these little iPhones are capable of capturing and delivering high quality, powerfully moving images. Also, there is a place for subjective interpretation if one is a photojournalist. If this is true of journalism, you can imagine how I think it applies to art. If you start imposing rules on art, it loses its ability to illicit an aesthetic experience. –Russell Smith, August 26, 2011

And Another Thing!

I was recently exposed to the work of Vivian Maier and I am totally blown away. A friend of mine says that the photographs that I take are only interesting when they are street scenes. He may be influenced by the fact that he grew up in the city and doesn’t see the beauty in a spiderweb the way I see a beauty in a yucca plant. Anyway, I plan to concentrate on street scenes for a while and see where that takes me. September 12, 2011

Well, here it is October 23, 2011, and it’s been well over a month since I decided to concentrate on street photography. My friend Randy was right. I make an okay nature photographer, but I make a damned good street photographer. My ratings have been going up ever since I made this decision. From now on, when people ask, or when I just blurt out, I tell people that I am a street photographer. I can even name the name of my inspiration. I even know the date that I was exposed to her. My sister-in-law Jenny was the one who showed me Vivian Maier. So the Fall of 2011 was when my career as a photographer took such a drastic turn. Remember that. I think one Untitled that I posted the other day was really exceptional. It’s of two girls sitting on the floor in the subway train putting on makeup. It’s brilliant and brutal. I didn’t know I had it in me to take such a photograph.

© Russell Smith, 2011


6 responses

  1. I like the way you think – and i love the shot of the girls.

    December 27, 2011 at 6:36 pm

    • Thanks. I like the cut of your jib too!

      December 27, 2011 at 6:41 pm

  2. I love your work, all of it~

    April 14, 2014 at 6:58 pm

    • Thank you! What a nice thing to say!

      April 15, 2014 at 8:56 pm

      • You are so very welcome~

        April 16, 2014 at 1:29 pm

      • I love your blog too! Very much!

        April 17, 2014 at 12:31 pm

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