Amor Electrica

amor-electrica-richard-smith-rsmithings-comThe main component of this image was shot in daylight in early autumn. Through use of an infrared filter and near-abstract rose closeup, the elements coalesce to make an almost wintry, dimensional expression. See the source components here.

Summer Snow

Summer Snow - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comSometimes summer snow shows. Shot in Shalotte. See source scenes here.

Autumn Underground

Autumn Underground - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comSome scenery from my travels and a traveling leaf of the season, sourced locally. See the source components here.

Mental Campfires

Mental Campfires - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comWhat can we cook up by stoking the connections in our minds? What communal shared experience can we create through some sort of burning vision? How does what we deem right for some kind of visual representation register in the minds’ eyes of others? Got any marshmallows? See the source components, or get a closer look.


Sunspots - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comThis is more of an exercise, but I’m pleased with the results enough to consider it an official composition. There’s more distress and less detail than I usually include, but being in the right spot at the right time, under a right kind of tree with the sun in the right position in the sky is what prompted me to take this photo. I knew immediately it would make for some interesting results, especially with a Man Ray-style solarization technique. Add to that a subtle dandelion in the background mirroring one in the foreground, and there you have it. See the source components here. Musical accompaniment: Nine Inch Nails, “Sunspots” (obviously).

Considered Perspective

Considered Perspective - Richard Smith -

I know it’s a powerful thing to include human forms in photos. I just never do it. I’m too busy noticing inanimate objects and considering juxtaposition to remember this when composing my art. But occasionally I’ll get inspired and dig out a random human shape from my archives and bring it to the foreground. So while this is more of an exploration experiment than what I’d consider a full-on thematic composition, I’m happy with the results. You can see the source components here.

Wired To Heaven

(null)Here’s a video on the making of this piece:

The title for this came to me in one of the most intense dreams I’ve had lately. I completed the composition earlier in the day, but couldn’t arrive at a proper title. So while sleeping, this phrase is something two characters say to each other as a means of affirming their aspirations. One says to the other, who is an aspiring inventor, "Wired to heaven – patents." And the inventor says to the other, "Wired to heaven – art." I’m really not sure where that came from or its significance, but I like the context and think it works for this composition, with trees snapped at sunset forming the background for an overlay of what they can be used for (the boards), and an element of nature that makes its home in the trees. The feather I found in my front yard months ago; the boards are on the back of my garage, and the trees are a few miles from my home. See the source components at Flickr.

Any Day Or Now

Any Day Or Now

Moving from scene to scene, how do we know when the elements are right for a moment? By not thinking about it, perhaps. So we grasp for understanding from ground, to sky, climbing many branches to get there, to get a perspective of it all. Maybe this is what that might look like. Or maybe it’s just my hand, a bird at the beach, a tree from a neighborhood park, and some roadside flowers.

Musical Accompaniment: Hoodoo Gurus – What’s My Scene?

Potential Potential

Potential Potential
Because we never know what potential lies within ourselves… to turn something into nothing… to push beyond our supposed limitations… to just capture a moment and make something of it that lasts longer than that instance in time and eventually spread the thought into something meaningful in whatever way for another, in some way, somehow. That potential is there all the time. Much of this was photographed in one day, with some elements corralled from other ordinary encounters. All proving the point: potential. It’s there, all around us, all the time. Worthwhile when we tap into it and waiting for us to make the effort, from the simplest leaf to the tallest tree. See the originals at Flickr. Musical accompaniment: “Somebody Told Me” by The Killers.

Mojo Tree

Mojo Tree - Richard Smith -
Mojo doesn’t grow on trees, but it can appear anywhere: from behind the clouds, transforming something that fits in the palms of our hands into something much more grand. See the originals at Flickr. Musical Accompaniament: “Mojo Pin” by Jeff Buckley:

Only So Much To Say

Only So Much To Say - Richard Smith -

Stream becomes portal. Tree becomes a mountain range. Leaf becomes Dalí’s mustache. Best viewed at full size.

This is one I created about a year ago, practically forgot about, then came back to appreciate more completely only later. I remember it taking not very long to compose, and having all the elements come together serendipitously, which, for me, is my favorite manner. This one appears more abstract from a distance, so it doesn’t have the instant recognizabilitly, and therefore sudden popularity, of many of my other pieces — but the reward is there for those with an eye and desire for detail. The abstractedness gives way to a surrealist blending of natural scenes and forms, offering a rich level of intricacy not immediately apparent in a smaller view — which is just the way so much of our digital art world is at first blush on Instagram or many other image sharing destinations. And that’s the inspiration for the title: in the smaller format, there is only so much to say, just a limited amount, for a fleeting few seconds… while further exploration can reveal so much more. Share your thoughts on this piece over at my blog, and check out the originals at Flickr.

Originals at Flickr


Let’s take happiness where we find it; divine it wherever we can. In this image, a repeated treatment of a neighborhood tree at sunset frames the eye of a model I worked with to create some specially-commissioned shots, as I also did for Dream Within A Dream. View the originals for this one at Flickr.

Dream Within A Dream

Dream Within A Dream by rsmithing

– I MUST HAVE IT! – | click for details

I’ve always been intrigued by the phrase “Dream Within A Dream.” I probably first considered it when hearing Tool’s song, “Sweat” from 1992’s Opiate EP:

The focal point of the hand with the fern is a specially commissioned shot I acquired through the website, where people post “gigs” starting at $5. I set up a page with photo requirements here at, then sought out folks who would provide photos. So far, it’s worked out great as a way for me to incorporate human forms from around the world into my art, but without having to book models and set up a full-on shoot. The hand here belongs to Fiverr member and Nepal resident, PreetiYoga, also the subject of “The Delicate Balance.”

This photo was featured within 24 hours of posting at my own Instagram feed in the groups, Flair_BW and BNW_Globe, both excellent collections of creative black and white imagery. Here’s a look at the original elements:


This photomontage is an example of following the urge to create when the time is right. It struck me one afternoon to make something with whatever was easily accessible at the moment. I’d recently photographed a setting sun behind a willow tree making some interesting shapes in a parking lot, so I combined that with a shot from earlier in the week of some railroad tracks I’d snapped on a walk downtown during lunch, selectively masking and highlighting to frame the hand/fern.

Assembling these elements for this multilayered photomontage was an ideal metaphor for my interpretation of the “Dream Within A Dream” phrase: consider the concepts created from the interchange of subconscious connections we might not even be aware are present – from a random parking lot with just the right lighting, to well-worn train tracks born of century-plus-old industry, to a glimpse of a fern branch being held on the other side of the planet.

Bonus points if you noticed our model’s face (shh… that’s a secret).



– I MUST HAVE IT! – | click for details

Because sometimes that’s the way it is. So be it. This was assembled using a shot of a sidewalk in my neighborhood, a daybed from my den and a view through tree branches one night when the moon was very full and bright.

Musical accompaniment: “Severance” by Bauhaus, originally by Dead Can Dance