Monday, January 30, 2012

Aline Smithson

The deadline for iSpy: Camera Phone Photography has closed. Thank you to all who sent us your wonderful and intriguing images. With nearly 900 submitted, juror Aline Smithson has her work cut out for her in selecting a maximum of 70 for the exhibition.

Of course, Aline can take on just about anything. As a widely published and exhibited photographer, photography juror, teacher, editor and author of a well-read photography blog, and above all, mother, Aline makes me a little exhausted just thinking about all that she does.

I recently asked Aline a few questions about her career and involvement in the photographic community. She began as a New York Fashion Editor where she worked with some of the greats of fashion photography. Her collaboration with these artists and the desire to embark on a new career pushed her into learning photography.

Being self-taught, Aline immersed herself in this new world, and it certainly has paid off. Her work has been shown in the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, The Tagomago Gallery in Barcelona, and Wallspace Gallery in Seattle. She has also been featured in numerous publications, including the PDN Photo Annual, Eyemazing Artworks, Lenswork Extended, Shots, Silvershotz, Pozytyw, and Communication Arts Photo Annual.  An important influence in Aline’s work is the Japanese concept of celebrating a singular object. The images below, from her series, Paradise, reflect this idea. They tend to be quiet with a focus on balance, and draw the eye to a central point. Each person or item is isolated in the frame, yet still very much a part of their environment.

Creating and exhibiting beautiful and poignant work is an accomplishment in itself. But as always, Aline has even more to offer. One of the most challenging aspects of learning photography for Aline was the lack of resources and information available. Her blog, Lenscratch, was created more or less in reaction to her early frustrations in a pre-internet world:

I started my blog so that I could learn more and share it with my students. I think by appreciating the world I create work in – celebrating my fellow photographers, appreciating individuals and institutions that have furthered my career, and creating an environment of good will and giving back – have really made this journey much richer.

And give back she does. It has been a pleasure to collaborate with Aline, and as juror for this exhibition her enthusiasm for looking at work leaves me absolutely certain that iSpy: Camera Phone Photography will be a fantastic show. Stay tuned for results!