About the Photographer
Smith, Michael A.
American, b. 1942 Philadelphia, PA
Working with a view camera, Michael A. Smith shifts with ease between photographing isolated as well as densely populated landscapes. Like Alfred Stieglitz and Edward Weston before him, Smith is passionately committed to the tradition of straight photography; specifically the transition of an item found in the real world into the aestheticized subject of a photograph. In the interest of maintaining the greatest fidelity possible to his negatives, Smith never enlarges his images, preferring to make contact prints (by laying his 8×10 inch negative directly on top of the light-sensitive paper during exposure). Smith travels the country to find his subjects, presenting both the rural and the urban realms in refined, well-ordered visual relationships that blend complex spatial relationships with abstract concerns. New Orleans offers a typical city activity – the ball game – from the surprisingly rich vantage point of standing behind the crowded bleachers, a view that illustrates Smith's interest in the graphic, modernist photographic tradition.
Michael A. Smith was born in Philadelphia in 1942. After earning a BS in pre-law from Temple University (1963), Smith taught himself photography. Since the 1960s he has worked as a freelance photographer and instructor of photography, receiving a variety of awards for his work. Smith has also received numerous commissions to photograph US cities, including New Orleans, Louisiana; Princeton, New Jersey; Toledo, Ohio; and Broward County, Florida. His work ahs been exhibited in one-person shows at the Fort Lauderdale Museum of Art, Florida; International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, New York; Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York; Northlight Gallery, Arizona State University, Tempe; and the Photography Center of Atlanta, Georgia.