We are excited to showcase the work of Lenard Smith... Lenard stood out to us because of his impeccable ability to master all mediums of photography, primarily using a 4x5 and a Leica to capture everything from still-lifes to emotionally-charged portraits. Lenard received his Master of Fine Arts Degree in Advanced Photographic Studies from Bard College in New York, and has gone on to have dozens of gallery showings . He recently stormed the art world with his comprehensive book, A Sort Of Looking. Here's what Lenard had to say...
1. Who are you?
Lenard Smith. Lives and works in Los Angeles, California. I lived extensively in Italy and London over the span of nine years. After returning to the United States, I moved to New York City.
I spent ten years there, while also attending Bard College, and received my Master of Fine Arts degree in Advanced Photographic Studies.
2. You have an incredibly unique lifestyle, please can you elaborate on it?
I use two cameras. A large format 4x5 field camera and a Leica 35mm rangefinder. I have spent large portion of my career with a camera always in tow.
I work across several genres of photography, and incorporate conceptual and abstract imagery in the process of making my pictures.
3. How & why did you get into photography? Describe your medium & process for your photos...
I was first introduced to photography at the age of 7, when my father gave me my first camera. I have many sources of inspiration. To list a few, Robert Frank's 'The Americans' influenced me to go out into the world and experience life behind the lens. The apparatus which became a connector to first hand witnessing and recording was part of my early understanding of remembering empathy. Nan Goldin, Stephen Shore, William Eggleston, Wim Wenders, and Paul Outerbridge showed me the beauty of color, and gave me foundational understanding of exploring the world with color photography. Lastly, Thomas Ruff and several other European artists have been extremely important to my formal approach on looking even before I have released the shutter to take a picture.
4. Who/what influences your work?
Photography has been exciting to me since I started. I can say, the best part is just that I continue to take pictures.
There are times that I feel the pressure of being a responsible artist, but I know that I am deep inside, and those works emerge in a subtle fashion rather than with fireworks.
5. What excites you about your photography, your lifestyle? What do you struggle with?
To have a platform to show my work to the world, and continue making art books. I see myself getting very old and enjoying my life without struggle, and helping the world become a safer place for us all...