Gary Mark Smith

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This article is about the street photographer. For other people with the same name, see Gary Smith.
Gary Mark Smith
Gary Mark Smith Portrait.jpg
Born (1956-04-27) April 27, 1956 (age 58)
Known for Street photography
Website
streetphoto.com

Gary Mark Smith (born April 27, 1956) is an American street photographer.[1][2][3][4] Smith is noted for his global range and his empathetic and literal style of photography sometimes captured in extremely hazardous environments.[5][6][7][8][9]

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Pennsylvania, Smith took his first photographs growing up on his family farm outside Kutztown. In high school he began photographing street life in Washington Square in nearby New York City.[10] In 1984 he earned a BS in journalism from the University of Kansas at Lawrence.[11] In 1996 he earned a Master of Arts degree, the product of a full teaching fellowship provided by Purdue University at West Lafayette, Indiana.[12]

Career[edit]

War Time, El Salvador FMLN soldier.

[13][14]

Between 1982 and 2005 Smith became recognized as a street photographer and distinguished by blurring the line between journalism (documentary) and art.[15] His projects included:

Cold War Several expeditions to the Cold War inspired guerrilla wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, and Nicaragua - moonlighting as a journalist for the University Daily Kansan newspaper[16] and selling combat photography he made on the side as a freelance photographer to the Associated Press, United Press International and other agencies.[17] His accounting of the Streets of Cold War Hot Spots garnered Smith a William Randolph Hearst Award nomination[18][19][20] and in December 1991 American Photo magazine named Smith an American Photo Career Photographer in that publication’s first ever honors competition.

Eruption of the Sufriere Hills volcano on the Caribbean island of Montserrat.

Molten Memoirs In September 1997 Smith gained access to the 'death zone' of Salem, Montserrat in the Lesser Antilles in the Caribbean,[21][22] becoming one of the 200 famous volcano holdouts there who refused to leave until a near-fatal close call eruption of the Soufriere Hills Volcano on September 22, 1997 finally forced the holdouts to flee.[23] In February 1999 Smith released his first global street photography book, a well-received journal (Molten Memoirs:[24] Essays, Rumors Field Notes and Photographs from the Edge of Fury) about his experience.[25] In November 2000 Smith was honored for his work in Montserrat as an American Photo magazine champion for the second time, as a winner of the “International Reader’s Competition”.[23][26] In July 2009 a portfolio of 45 photographs from Holdout Streets of the Montserrat Volcano Disaster was accessioned into the permanent collection of the Montserrat National Trust.[27]

Tora Bora: An American Global Street Photographer’s Post 9-11 View of the Streets of the Afghanistan/Pakistan Tribal Belt at the Time of Tora Bora.

Only known photograph of a Taliban confederate escaping U.S. bombers at Tora Bora.

Smith’s Streets of the Post-9/11 World project including work from: Ground Zero in New York City; the Streets under the air war adjacent to the Battle of Tora Bora;[3] the streets of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border refugee camps; the streets of the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) in Pakistan at Peshawar; beyond the Khyber Pass (Mohmand and Khyber Agencies); and to the everyday post-9/11 terror war streets of Las Vegas, Nevada, Paris, France and Lawrence, Kansas, U.S.A., his hometown and the only city in North America (Bleeding Kansas) established during a terror war (John Brown; William Quantrill), resulted in his third global street photography book White With Foam: Essays, Rumors, Field Notes and Photographs from the Edge of World War III was published online and in June 2009 the journal was released as a Kindle Edition.

Katrina

Storm surge damage along Highway 90 on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (early September, 2005).

On September 1, 2005 Smith was sent by the American Red Cross to the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the flood of New Orleans, Louisiana, becoming a member of the Red Cross[28] first strike team, helping run undermanned rescue shelters in southern Louisiana on the outskirts of the Flood of New Orleans. During his service he photographed the Flood of New Orleans while on a cat rescue mission afloat down Canal Street and in addition photographed the extreme hurricane surge damage of nearly the entire Mississippi Gulf Coast Highway 90. In 2009, eight of the images were accessed into the permanent art collection at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA).[29]

Sleeping in the City:Global Street Photography from Inside the Wire.

Waiting for Improvement. 3:30 AM New York City.

Although called the godfather of citizen journalism[4] for his innovative but risky historical access street photography technique, Smith has furthermore emerged among contemporary street photographers as the pioneer who advanced street photography to a global level.[30] A lifetime mission documenting the streets of the world through his artwork has journeyed Smith to the streets of almost 70 countries on six continents.[31] His photographs from these “everyday global café streets” (thematic and typically lime-lighting the fashion, advertising, and particular place-defining urban elements of a location adorned with the serendipity of the passing local throng) have been included in private art collections worldwide and many of the images have been accessed into important museum collections in North America, South America, and Europe.[32]

Rocinha

Lived in and photographed the largest gang-occupied favela in Rio de Janeiro before pacification. Working with a small team during June 2011, Smith went on to publish a book and independent film about the project and in benefit to Rocinha art education with a foreword by Art Institute of Chicago critic.[33][34]

A timeline of notable Smith projects and honors[edit]

1982- began photographing the Cold War Hot Spots in El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua.[16][17]

1990- photographed Iron Curtain including West Germany, East Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Hungary, Greece, Italy, Switzerland, France, Belgium, and the Netherlands leading up to European and German Reunification, including celebrations in Prague and on October 3, 1990 in Köln (Cologne), Germany.[10][35]

1991- Named one of four winners of American Photo magazine Photographers Career Competition.[14][36]

1991- photographed the streets of the collapse of the Soviet Union, it dissolved.[36][37]

1996- was asked by Lawrence gallery (Kellas Gallery) mate and neighbor William S. Burroughs to be a contributor at an art exhibition opening at Spencer Art Museum at the University of Kansas in celebration of the collaboration between Burroughs and Smith’s boyhood friend Keith Haring from Kutztown, Pennsylvania.[38][39]

2000- accepted a grant from the Traver Foundation to publish his second global street photography book, Searching for Washington Square, a retrospective sampling of his early work photographing the streets of 50 countries in the first 15 years of his career between 1982 and 1996.[40]

2000- named a winner of the American Photo International Reader's Competition.[23][26]

2000- editors at Black & White Online magazine (New York) named Smith’s www.streetphoto.com art gallery website as one of the Top Ten Black & White Photography Websites Online.[29][41]

2006- four of Smith’s images (from Greece, Amsterdam, Montserrat and Las Vegas) were selected by photography critic Mason Resnick for inclusion in the four-month international street photography Crosswalks Exhibition at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMOA).[42][43] Later, after the exhibition closed, the museum accessioned two of Smith’s digital street photographs (from Las Vegas and Amsterdam) into its permanent art collection.[44]

2006- Two photographs from the Streets of the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina series became part of the Katrina Exposed Exhibition (June–September) at the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA): Devastatingly Beautiful and Ronald McDonald Mississippi Surge-Scape.

2008- established 30-year traveling retrospective of his global street photography from 64 countries on six continents called Sleeping in the City: Dreamscapes and Other Episodes from Inside the Wire.[45][46]

2009- eight photographs from Smith's 2007 Streets of the Aftermath of Hurricane Katrina were accepted into the permanent collection of the New Orleans Museum of Art (NOMA), as part of the hurricane memorial portfolio.[29]

2009- a portfolio of 45 of Smith's 1997–1999 Holdout Streets of the Montserrat Volcano Disaster was accepted into the permanent collection of the Montserrat National Trust.

2010- photography included in the permanent collection of the George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film.

2011- collection of archives, research material, negatives, prints and personal mementos to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library at the University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas created in the artist's name. The library announced the formation of the Gary Mark Smith Collection as part of its Kansas Collection.[47]

2011-photographed the streets of gang-controlled Favela Rocinha in Rio de Janeiro before the city's pacification of the favela.[48][49]

Personal life[edit]

Smith had a difficult upbringing that ended badly, ultimately shaping resilience as a major theme in his artwork. His mother committed suicide, a victim of uncontrollable depression, when he was in the fifth grade, resulting in his development as a self-reliant and independent spirit unencumbered by self-doubt. He was knocked unconscious in secondary lightning strikes twice as a teenager, once when he was 15 and again at 19, resulting in later incorporation of the fury of nature into his global street photography method.[4][23]

In 1976 Smith was abruptly disabled during a knee operation when insufficient room for swelling was left in the cast that was applied and his nerve was crushed from three inches above the knee all the way down through his left foot. This rendered him either in agonizing pain and/or existing under the influence of powerful painkillers for the rest of his life.[50][51]

In 1978 while hitchhiking across the United States, Smith picked up a newspaper one morning at a truck stop outside Scottsbluff, Nebraska and was inspired by an article he read promising cheaper international airfares under the new Airline Deregulation Act. That development, when blended with an inexplicable wanderlust, compelled him to become a fine art global street photographer instead of the other less exciting (more painful and less pain distracting) things left available to him.[29][52]

Smith’s street photography books[edit]

  • "Favela da Rocinha, Brazil" 2012.
  • “Molten Memoirs: Essays, Rumors, Field Notes and Photographs From The Edge of Fury” (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009) An Artist’s Account of the Volcano Holdouts of Salem, Montserrat. (Issued on tape for the sight impaired in 2001 by Audio Reader; 2009 issued as a Kindle Edition)
  • “Searching For Washington Square” (2001) (Published by the Traver Foundation)
  • “White With Foam”: Essays, Rumors, Field Notes, and Photographs from the Edge of World War III (September 10, 2001 to September 12, 2002) (Published as an online book December 2007)
  • ”The Road to Hell: How to Make Heaven Out of Third Class Travel” 2009.

References[edit]

  1. ^ CNN 24-hour Cable Television News Channel. Jeff Flock/ Bernard Shaw (1992-04-30 to 05-08)
  2. ^ GUP #25 The Street Photography Issue: Guide to Unique Photography/ Europe-Amsterdam (June–July 2010) www.gupmagazine.com
  3. ^ a b Near, Mitchell J. (2002-01-03) The MAG: Cover Story – The Art of War, A Lawrence artist captures street photography in world’s hot spots. The Art MAG (9-page Illustrated magazine article). http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2002/jan/03/the_mag_cover/
  4. ^ a b c Near, Mitchell J. (2001-08-30) The Art MAG: Feature Story - Into the Eye of the Storm: Photographer Seeks Lethal Situations for the Perfect Shot. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2001/aug/30/into_the_eye/ The Art MAG (Illustrated) feature story.
  5. ^ Biles, Jan (1997-03-06) “Photographer Takes Global View With Art.” The MAG photography column (Lawrence Journal-World) illustrated feature story.
  6. ^ James R. Hugunin (2000–2002) Global Wandering as Method, critical foreword to Gary Mark Smith’s second street photography book “Searching for Washington Square: A celebration of Life on the Global Street, vol. 1” (Lawrence, KS: East Village PhotoArts and the Traver Trust, 2000). http://www.uturn.org/Vita/allpub.htm
  7. ^ James R. Hugunin's Critical Essay on Gary Mark Smith http://www.streetphoto.com/Critical%20Review.htm
  8. ^ ArtStew Magazine Interview http://artstewmagazine.blogspot.com/2009/05/gary-mark-smith-artstew-magazine-issue.html
  9. ^ George Eastman House/ Sotheby’s 2011 Auction Catalog at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Index of Artists, with Biographical Information George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film 2011 Benefit Auction Catelog/Sotheby’s/iGavel/ (October 3, 2011). p.75. http://auction.eastmanhouse.org/2011/catalog.pdf
  10. ^ a b Martin, Sharon L. (2000-July/August) Gary Mark Smith: On the Streets of the World. The Purdue Alumnus Magazine (7-page) feature story (Illustrated).
  11. ^ Popper, Joe (1989-05-28) Guerrilla Rock: Or, How a Tiny, 100-Watt KU Radio Station Caused a Million Watts of Grief. An investigative journalism expose about how Smith and a few thousand of his friends saved a groundbreaking radio station from local and national power freaks intent on spoiling a cultural legacy, KJHK – The Sound Alternative. Kansas City Star Magazine (13-page) (illustrated) cover expose.
  12. ^ Lothamer, Jenny (1996-12-02) Photographer to Say Goodbye with Exhibit. Features Editor (illustrated) cover story.
  13. '^ American Photo magazine (1991-Nov/Dec issue) American Photo International Career Photographer Competition. (Illustrated) http://www.streetphoto.com/MediaReview1.htm. The American Photo editorial staff Stephanie Dolgoff.
  14. ^ a b Kansas Magazine (1992-Spring) “Lawrence Photographer Gary Mark Smith Wins International American Photo magazine ‘Career Photographer’s Competition’” Kansas Magazine, The Kansas Department of Commerce quarterly magazine.
  15. ^ United Press International (1982-06) Network, Freelance Photographers Taken by FML
  16. ^ a b Jones, Laurie (1984) Jayhawk Journalist Magazine; spring issue. Gary Smith: Senior Turns Combat Photographer in El Salvador. Illustrated (5-page) feature story.
  17. ^ a b Goldberg, Phil (1982-08-14) El Salvador Ambush Hits Home for Local Photographer. Lawrence Journal-World front-page news feature.
  18. ^ Gary Smith (1983-03-01) UDK foreign correspondent (analysis). “Suchitoto: Story of a Village Besieged.” The University Daily Kansan front page jump, article with 8-photographs on double truck. Article and photographs won Smith a Hearst College Journalism Award nomination from his professors at the William Allen White School of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Kansas.
  19. ^ Gary Smith (1984-02-17) UDK foreign dispatch: San Salvador, El Salvador -- (analysis). “Salvadorans Have Choice in March Vote: People Must Choose Between Bloody Fight, Guerrilla Agreement”. The University Daily Kansan front-page analysis
  20. ^ Gary Smith (1984-03-01) UDK lead editorial board editorial. “Defining Justice.” (A scathing editorial condemning the Reagan administration CIA-sponsored mining of Nicaraguan waterways) Reprinted in the Topeka Capitol-Journal and the Washington Post.
  21. ^ Associated Press (1999-10-8) distributed 22-inch (illustrated with three photographs) Montserrat Volcano article. Nationwide. Worldwide.
  22. ^ Blankenship, Bill (1997-11-02) “Clinging to the Edge of Fury: Artist Returns From the Streets of a Volcanic Disaster.” Midway Magazine (Topeka Capitol-Journal) illustrated 6-photograph, 1½-page cover story with jump.
  23. ^ a b c d Gordon, Suzanne (1999-Nov. issue) Montserrat Memoirs. http://www.streetphoto.com/MediaReview3.htm Caribbean Travel and Life magazine (Illustrated).
  24. ^ Austin Chronicle (1999-May) “Gary Smith, Volcano Photographer and Author to Give Journal Presentation in Austin.”
  25. ^ Austin Borders News & Events Magazine. (1999-May) “Edge of the Fury: Author of Molten Memoirs street photographer Gary Mark Smith to Speak, Read.” Austin Borders News & Events Magazine Events Schedule. (Austin, Texas).
  26. ^ a b Dunkley, Diana (2000-12-24) Gary Smith Wins Influential and Prestigious Award. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2000/dec/24/arts_notes96/ Arts Notes: Lawrence Journal-World (Illustrated).
  27. ^ "Artist Resume". Streetphoto.com. Retrieved 2012-08-17. 
  28. ^ Maines, Sophia (2005-10-01) Volunteers Return From Gulf Coast. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2005/oct/01/volunteers_return_gulf_coast/ Lawrence Journal-World (Illustrated) cover story.
  29. ^ a b c d Stewart, Scott (2009-05-25), Pioneering A Global Range in a Traditionally Local Art,Lengthy illustrated feature cover story with two dozen published photographs and an extensive illustrated career timeline. ArtStew International Magazine (11-page illustrated cover story)
  30. ^ Lyon, Kaley (2008-11-15) Globe-trotting Street Photographer Brings Eye for Detail to Hays http://www.hdnews.net/Story/artist111908 Hays Daily News (illustrated).
  31. ^ http://kansan.com/news/2012/11/14/famed-photographer-gary-mark-smith-to-give-lecture-for-journalism-art-students/
  32. ^ Annual Report: Oklahoma City Museum of Art (2008-01-01) Gary Mark Smith Prints Collected by OKCMOA. (Illustrated) http://www.okcmoa.com/files/u1/Annual%20Report%202006-07.pdf The Oklahoma City Museum of Arts Annual Report 2006–2007.
  33. ^ KU Student Documents Brazilian Shantytown for Benefit Book: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2012/apr/29/ku-student-documents-brazilian-shanty-town/ (April 29, 2012)
  34. ^ The Rio Times, A Photo Book of Favela da Rocinha, Fiona Hurrell (August 1, 2012) http://riotimesonline.com/brazil-news/rio-entertainment/a-photo-book-of-favela-da-rocinha/
  35. ^ Thorson, Alice (1992-01-26) KC Star art critic. “Only a Few Works Stand Out From Crowd- Of the works taking inspiration further afield, most captivating is Gary Mark Smith’s photograph of a group of Warsaw, Poland citizens, seated side by side on an outdoor bench. Their clothing creates a lively frieze of paisley, polka dots, and flowers, at odds with the disgruntled expressions on their faces.” The Kansas City Star, illustrated art criticism.
  36. ^ a b LeComte, Richard (1992-01-05) Career Consciousness: Photographer Finds National Success; An Artist Journeys to Russia as the Soviet Union Collapses. Arts editor: Arts Section (illustrated) cover story.
  37. ^ Kansas Public Television/Sunflower Journeys (1992) #513-Cross-Cultural Communication. Kansas City Monarchs: Legendary baseball team in the Negro leagues with Buck O’neil; IN Focus: A photography class for inner city youth in Kansas City with Gary Mark Smith; Indian Art Market: An Annual event at Haskell Indian Nations University. http://ktwu.washburn.edu/journeys/
  38. ^ Beatniks in Kansas-William S Burroughs at the JazzHaus http://www.vlib.us/beats/
  39. ^ Casey, Jill (1987-09-10) “River City Reunion: In Bare-bones Setting, Student Poets Blossom at Night.” Hoch Auditorium, University of Kansas. (The River City Reunion was the last get together for the Beat Generation with readings by Allan Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Timothy Leary, Peter Orlovsky, William Burroughs, Michael McClure, Diane Di Prima, Jello Biafra, Jim Carroll, and John Giorno with contributions from Gary Mark Smith and Keith Haring.)
  40. ^ Biles, Jan (2000-08-31) Photographer Captures Routine of Street Life. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2000/aug/31/photographer_captures_routine/ Lawrence Journal-World (Illustrated) feature article.
  41. ^ Resnick, Mason (2000-09-01) Top 10 Photography Websites. http://www.photogs.com/bwworld/topten0900.html Black and White Online magazine.
  42. ^ JW staff reports (2006-7-01) Exhibit Features Work by Lawrence Photographer. http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/jul/01/exhibit_features_work_lawrence_photographer/ Lawrence Journal-World (Illustrated).
  43. ^ Oklahoma City Museum of Art (OKCMA) News (2006-May) Crosswalk Contemporary International Street Photography Exhibition. http://www.streetphoto.com/MediaReview7.htm. www.okcmoa.com. (Illustrated)
  44. ^ Annual Report: Oklahoma City Museum of Art (2008-01-01) Gary Mark Smith Prints Collected by OKCMOA. (Illustrated) http://www.okcmoa.com/files/u1/Annual%20Report%202006-07.pdf The Oklahoma City Museum of Arts Annual Report 2006–2007.
  45. ^ Mader, Brenda (2008-11-01) Gary Mark Smith exhibition, Sleeping in the City: Dreamscapes and Other Episodes From Inside the Wire. http://www.haysartscouncil.org/sleeping.htm Hays Arts Council news (illustrated).
  46. ^ Lyon, Kaley (2008-11-15) Globe-trotting Street Photographer Brings Eye for Detail to Hays http://www.hdnews.net/Story/artist111908 Hays Daily News (illustrated).
  47. ^ Mike Krings. Acclaimed Photographer Donates Collection to Kenneth Spencer Research Library/ Kansas Collection. Kansas University News Service/ University Relations. http://www.news.ku.edu/2011/august/23/photographer.shtml
  48. ^ Jan Biles. Topeka Capital-Journal (July 3, 2011) Kansans Document Life In Slums of Brazil: Photos capture grit, heart of Rio slum, http://cjonline.com/news/2011-07-02/photos-capture-grit-heart-rio-slum#.Tj708BzK6iF
  49. ^ Chansi Long. Lawrence Journal-World. 1) KU student, local photographer document life in Brazilian slum http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2011/aug/15/ku-student-local-photographer-document-life-brazil/
  50. ^ “Molten Memoirs: Essays, Rumors, Field Notes and Photographs From The Edge of Fury” (1999, 2000, 2001, 2009) An Artist’s Account of the Volcano Holdouts of Salem, Montserrat.
  51. ^ “White With Foam”: Essays, Rumors, Field Notes, and Photographs from the Edge of World War III (September 10, 2001 to September 12, 2002) (Published as an online book December 2007)
  52. ^ ArtStew Magazine (2009-01-20) ArtStew.com (National and International) Artist Spotlight. International hardcopy and online arts magazine illustrated feature.

External links[edit]