Born in 1983, Smith refers to himself as an artist and a photographer. Smith grew up in Iowa and attended a very small arts school in northern Vermont. It was here that Smith built his first pinhole camera and fell in love with the darkroom, so much so that the teacher asked him to teach the class for an entire week at the age of 17. Smith received his Bachelor of Arts in Professional Photography from the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, California. Smith’s black and white landscape images were published while he was still attending college. Smith has since won second place at the International Photography Awards and many others and has been published many times including National Geographic, Huck Magazine (London), Dodho & B&W Magazines.
Smith is influenced by many other photographers, motion pictures and painters. The photographer Rodney Smith also influenced him greatly, after having the rare opportunity to meet Rodney and spend a weekend reviewing Smith’s portfolio at Rodney’s home in New York City. Smith has also developed a relationship with Rodney’s master printer of 15 years and is now printing Smith’s photographs as well. Smith recently spent the winter teaching himself the zone system, originally developed by Ansel Adams, and is excited to incorporate this into his medium format film photographs.
Smith was taught the Wet Plate Collodion process by Mark & France Osterman in Rochester, New York. Shortly after falling in love with this process, Smith bought a 1977 ice cream van from Big Sur, California and spent a year turning the inside in to a mobile tintype darkroom, (as seen in the photographs). This mobile tintype darkroom is one of few in the world. After this, Smith bought his first home in northern Door County, Wisconsin. What used to be a General Store in 1916, Smith converted to his photographic studio to edit film, and mix collodion chemicals.
"I make photographs that speak to me visually and emotionally. I have to feel strongly and be excited about what I am photographing. I believe that the deeper I understand myself, the deeper the connection will be between the viewer and the photograph. I want the viewer to feel strong emotions and have their own personal connection with the photograph, based on their own personal experiences. I do not title my photographs because I believe that it takes away from your experience. I care deeply about every aspect of this process. I use a Hasselblad 6X6 film camera for many of my landscapes and for my tintypes I use a 12x12 & 7x7 handmade Donchev wooden wet-plate camera with antique brass lens. I built and use a mobile tintype darkroom that was once an ice cream truck. I am a perfectionist and I work tirelessly to make sure that my photographs will be around long after I am gone."