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Published on Nov 29, 2016
His photographs are familiar by now: silhouettes and skylines, a man in a hat, elegant women in elegant gardens. Rodney Smith, in the tradition of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn, bridges the gap between commercial photography and art. In doing so, he speaks to both the world we live in and the world the artist craves. But, despite his place in American culture, the man behind the photographs has remained, in many ways, unknown. Rodney Smith resolves that mystery with a selection of pictures spanning four decades, organized chronologically, accompanied by personal reflections drawn from his illustrious career. Taken as a whole, it reveals that the photographer’s signature style is no accident. Rather, it is the product of his unusual background, his unique perspective, and his many years of self-analysis. As fans are introduced to the voice behind the images, they will finally see that Rodney Smith’s photographs are also pictures of their creator.
Rodney Smith has been making pictures for nearly half a century. He found his calling while an undergraduate at the University of Virginia, but he did his graduate work at Yale in theology and art—training that he parlayed into a fellowship in Jerusalem, where he took the photos that would become his first book, In the Land of Light. After his return to the United States, he broke into the world of portrait photography, making his mark as a sought-after fashion photographer and artist. Throughout it all, he has retained his signature aesthetic and his sense of humor. His personality is of another era, his style is timeless, and he only shoots film. Smith’s other books include The End, The Book of Books and The Hat Book. He lives in Palisades, New York, with his wife.