Oceani Templum Spiritus

Oceani Templum Spiritus - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

– I MUST HAVE IT! – | click for details

A tribute to the restorative energy of the ocean. The title is Latin for “Ocean Spirit Temple.” For some reason, Latin titles make more sense to me sometimes. This marks my first work in several months, as I’ve been putting my creative energy toward other projects, but as soon as I saw this sand castle on a recent beach trip, I immediately knew it had potential. Check out the source components here (bonus points if you spot the cherub in the image).

Source components - Ocaeni Templum Spiritus

Musical Accompaniment: The Cult – Electric Ocean

Vacationers II

Vacationers II - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comA continuation from one of my favorite pieces I did about a year ago. See the source components here.

Be The Butterfly II

Be The Butterfly II - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comA continuation from one of my favorite pieces I did a few years ago. See the source components here.

Church Of Passers-By

Church Of Passers-By - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comHere is the church. It does not have a steeple. Or doors. But there are the people. See the source components here.

Love Is The Guide

Love Is The Guide - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comThough waters may be dark and the road nonlinear, with love as a guide we might find what we’re looking for. See the source components here.

Musical accompaniment: Fuzzbox

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.

The Oracle

The Oracle - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comA passing glimpse of a fellow traveler. A passing moment of the ocean’s sand art. A flickering illuminated moment of a candle, amid the stars shimmering from the pavement. All for a moment of transcendence. See the source components here.

Crooked House, Crackled Sky

Crooked House, Crackled Sky - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comHaving some fun with a house on a hill and the weathered plastic front of a gas pump. Both in Winston-Salem, NC. This is a perfect example of how I document all the time and assemble creations when the urge strikes. I knew each of these photos would end up somewhere, and here they are together. This is along the lines of another crackled sky treatment from a while back. I originally shot the house only for the steps, which I may yet use in another composition. But the effect of rotating the landscape was too fun not to pursue. See the source components here.

Our Pulsating Hearts

Our Pulsating Hearts - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comConnections and contrasts are often compelling — whether interpersonal or visual, as I like to represent in my art via metaphor. We’re all walking pastiches of the connections we’ve formed and those we’ve yet to become a part of, some closer than others, some clearer, others less so. See the source components here.

Innatas Reflecterum

Innatas Reflecterum - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comBecause our reflections, or reflections of anything, are only secondhand information, rather than being a direct statement of the source, it’s important to practice perspective, however difficult that can be at times. Situations, people, even things as seemingly concrete as arching trees, the beauty of a rose — or things as literally concrete as a building — exist in our minds only that they are subject to our perception; something very susceptible to change, sometimes by our own design, other times less so. 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

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.

Martyr Of The Barn

Martyr Of The Barn - Smith-Kiaba, RSMITHINGS.com
This is a collaboration with the very talented Jen Kiaba, whose photography I’ve long admired, and whom I have been fortunate enough to connect with on Instagram. I noticed a snapshot of hers there one day and offered to do a collaboration with the original, to which she graciously obliged. Definitely check out Jen’s website if you’re into surreal photo creations (chances are that’s the case if you’re reading this). Along with her initial inspiring shot, this also includes clouds shot from my front porch given a solarization effect; a section of a vined plant growing in my front yard; my front yard itself in the bottom of the frame (reversed grassy section) and a shot of Rodin’s “The Martyr” that I took at the Met in NYC a few years ago. I felt compelled to include a human-like form as a nod to her style, and this sculpture seemed contextually appropriate. See the source components here.

Things Find A Way

Things Find A Way - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comOne of my favorite phrases is “There is always a way.” I read that in a character sketch when I was young, and its simple optimism has always resonated with me. It also brings to mind “life finds a way” from Jurassic Park, but since I’m working with things – elements of a composition – then the title of this piece feels appropriate, especially because it took unusually long to gestate in my mind’s eye before becoming clear. The impulse was the bridge, spotted one weekend afternoon in a local park near my home. I rode past it while running an errand around golden hour time, and turned around in my car to go back and get the shot. Earlier that weekend I’d taken a snapshot of the hübnerite and quartz in the background (which found itself to a nearby science center all the way from Peru), and I knew the two could somehow work together in a Fortress of Solitude kind of fashion. Add to that a found crow feather (seen also in Wired To Heaven), cloud tops seen from an airplane, the emerging face of a stranger, along with some conveniently nearby fauna… and voila: each thing in this piece found its way to the right spot in the final assemblage. See the source components here.

Oceanus Rubigo

Ocean Of RustI came upon a dumpster in my neighborhood speckled with rusted, peeling paint pockmarks and a crow in the same parking lot. I immediately thought the two would make a meaningful pairing, and set about documenting them as best I could. Thinking back to nautical maps of centuries ago, the kind with sea beasts and rough approximations of coastlines, I took the opportunity to include several of my common photomontage elements in a similar vein. Clouds, an eye, tree parts, a moth, etc. – all come together in this assemblage. It took a good long while compared to most of my projects, but I got it done, this vision in my head. And that’s satisfying. See the source components here.

Supervisage Notifier

Supervisage Notifier - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.comOnce when visiting Florence, Italy, I was taken in by all the elaborate knockers on so many of the old city’s doors. On my last day there, I came upon a shop that happened to sell these very devices, and now this solid cast brass one is anchored into my own home’s door here in the U.S. Add to that a view of the sky and a tree from downtown along with views of a shell from the beach, and you have a super-charged version of this primitive yet functional notification contraption. See the source components here, and enjoy a making-of video below, with Stereolab‘s “Motoroller Scalatron” as musical accompaniment:

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.

Vacationers

Vacationers - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

– I MUST HAVE IT! – | click for details

From mountains to sea, from treetops to shore, from sky to land we go. Shot over a 3-week period in spring across trips of my own along these lines. This composition uses snapshots from two recent mini-vacations of mine: one to a wooded mountain retreat, the other to the beach. I combined them with images of a moth that landed on my washing machine, and considered the title a reference to the photos’ origin as well as a whimsical take on the action depicted. See the source components here.

Motherpod And The Sea

Motherpod And The Sea - Richard Smith - RSMITHINGS.com

– I MUST HAVE IT! – | click for details

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.