Rainbow In Progress

Inspired by the clouds, using edges and other elements affected by nature. See the source components here. Musical accompaniment: “Rainbow” by Robert Plant:

Flight Reflector

Some of my favorite elements working together for metaphors on flight and reflection. See the source components here.

Representation

representation-richard-smith-rsmithings-comA reflected background sets the scene for a representation of a flower taken in nearly the same location, brought together and shaded selectively in this image. See the source components here.

Metropolitan Gestalt

Metropolitan Gestalt - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comThe subject matter and title of this piece are an interplay on the location of the background itself: a downtown corridor in my city, and the gestalt-esque coming together of the various elements. I knew the background would be a fun device for a creation, but it was only after seeing it did the vision come together in my head for the final composition, involving pieces of which I had shot much earlier with no idea where they would land. Only after revisiting the composition years later did I fully appreciate the process as part of the overall result. See the source components here.

Musical accompaniment: Glassjaw – Cosmopolitan Blood Loss

Language Of The Tulips

Language Of The Tulips - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comI’ve recently re-read The Alchemist and a common theme is “the language of the desert.” It occurred to me that other elements of nature can have language as well, and we might benefit from making the effort to notice, whatever the message might be. See the source components here.

Motherpod And The Sea

Motherpod And The Sea - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

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Like an eroding island, our moments fall off into the ever moving tide. This is my attempt at memorializing some of them. In front is a recently harvested amaryllis pod with freshly born seeds that I’ve been caring for over several years, especially so recently in the past few weeks for it to produce its next generation. In back is the Atlantic Ocean steadily relocating the edge of an island I shot during a recent beach visit, reversed and layered for additional reflective consideration. See the source components here.

Division of Labor II

Division Of Labor II - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comThis is a harkening back to a similar experiment I executed about a year before I created this, using photos from a similar circumstance. It’s a classic Jerry Uelsmann-esque juxtaposition of foreground and background, both contrasted in a manner or two. Mine doesn’t even approach the realm of Uelsmann’s pioneering work, but I’m glad to share the influence for those who might want to seek more. You can see the source components here.

Approximate Deity

Approximate Deity - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

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This started as a demonstration of layer blending, strictly to illustrate technique to a visitor in person. Yet it came to evolve into this full-on composition. There are two views of the same amaryllis (grown in my laundry room) along with a rose from a local public garden and facial features of a model shot I commissioned a while ago. You can see the source components here, and a video on the making of this piece here:

See the very beginning of this image and an interview with me in Relish by the Winston-Salem Journal:

relish-ad

Beautiful Manners

Beautiful Manners - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

Every year for the past several in a row, I do a composition involving roses. They happen to be pervasive around Valentine’s Day, and I love the shapes of the petals in dramatic black and white lighting. I also enjoy the emotional metaphor associated with a beautiful natural object. With this one, I’m especially pleased with the solarization-like effect that comes from blending multiple layers. See the source components here.

Transients’ Transience

Transients Transience - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

Every year for the past several in a row, I do a composition or two involving roses. They happen to be pervasive around Valentine’s Day, and I love the shapes of the petals in dramatic black and white lighting. I also enjoy the emotional metaphor associated with a beautiful natural object. This particular piece — best viewed at large size for detail — includes a leaf that blew in to my living room, a tree I see on my daily commute, and of course: roses. I chose the title in considering the fleeting nature of flowers in general, along with their seasonal times in our lives, such as around holidays. Below is a look at how I achieved the lighting for this with my trusty flashlight. See the source components at Flickr.

Richard Smith - Transients' Transience - Making of - RSMITHINGS

The Whole World

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This is a piece that I had a vision for, and then worked to execute. As is so often the case, the end result was only an approximation of what I had in mind, not unlike a haircut. Think about it: a haircut is typically something between what you picture and what you end up getting. Nevertheless I’m quite happy with the end result. This combination of grass from my front yard, a rock from my backyard, and a close-up of The kitchen floor represents the front middle and end of a large part of my physical world. See the source components at Flickr.

Title inspired by the whimsical musical accompaniment of the following Living Colour track from their album, The Chair in the Doorway.

Forest For The Trees

Forest For The Trees - Richard Smith - rsmithings.com

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This seemingly started with the compelling texture of peeling paint on a lamppost in a grocery store parking lot. I knew it would make for a great blend with a leafless winter treetop, so I snapped a tall one in my neighborhood. After blending these base elements, It became immediately clear that this needed a dramatic focal point; hence the flower snapped a few months back, which turned out to be the original element all along, but was something impossible to see without being revealed through a forest of cracks and just the right tree. See the components at Flickr.

Musical Accompaniment — “A Forest” by The Cure:

Come closer and see
See into the trees
Find the girl
While you can

Working Conclusion

Working Conclusion
In this image, I’m referencing Salvador Dali and Jerry Uelsmann. Both are my heroes and greatest influences. That’s even Dali’s book, Fifty Secrets of Magic Craftsmanship. It’s about as easy to follow as one would expect something from a dedicated surrealist to be. See the originals at Flickr.

Only So Much To Learn

Only-So-Much-To-Learn-by-rsmithing-1024x760

What can a supposedly finite everyday view of our surroundings impart when juxtaposed with an unexpected yet likewise ordinary view? New interpretations, unforeseen connections, unique beauty not otherwise possible, to name a few things. So maybe there’s much yet we can learn. See the originals at Flickr.

Find What You Love

Find What You Love by rsmithing 800 x 800

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And let it set you free. This is a play on the phrase by Charles Bukowski, “find what you love and let it kill you.” I like his phrase, but I also like the idea of setting something free or being set free in the name of love. This is a montage I assembled using a shot of a couple of treetops at sunset (with the moon rising), a roadside view of some wildflowers, and a gash of peeling paint in a parking deck. I like the ghostly appearance of the background as the highlight here. See the originals at Flickr.