Local to Denver and a photography prize winner, Sam Smith shoots landscape, still life and technology through art. He specializes in classic cars and orchids.
Sam’s artistic mission – like any worthwhile artistic mission – is more of a journey than a place.
He bought his first camera way back in summer of 2012, imagining that he’d be a shooter of majestic Colorado landscapes. That isn’t what happened, though; he accidentally discovered the world of classic cars and for the next couple of years became something of a specialist in the wonderful automotive designs of the mid-20th century. Cars led to trains and other kinds of machinery which became a way of life, believing it makes sense to focus on technophilia, society’s complex, ambivalent and sometimes utterly twisted worship of our own handicraft.
Sam has always been fascinated by design, art, architecture and technology, subjects that intrigue me at an intellectual as well as an aesthetic level. In the ‘90s, he earned a PhD from the University of Colorado with a dissertation examining the history of technology and the ideologies that informed it. His photography is seemingly the one place where both his left and right brains can truly work in concert. Sam grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the nation, North Carolina, so intense natural beauty is coded into his DNA. Perhaps inevitably, the past couple years have found him paying more attention to the vegetable and animal than the mineral. He knows very little about flowers, but has developed a serious love for them, especially orchids, even though he may have no idea what he’s photographing at the moment.
Sam shoots with a (bright red) Nikon D5300 with a basic Nikor 18-105 zoom, a fixed 60mm Nikor macro and a Tamron 10-24 wide-angle in roughly equal measure. His processing workflow begins in Lightroom and then dives into Photoshop and an array of filters from the Nik Suite (primarily Viveza, Dfine, Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro).
Sam has been fortunate to feature in a number of shows in the past four years and recently won first prize in the Interiors category in the 2016 Doors Open Denver Photography Contest. Sam live in the West Highlands neighborhood of Denver on the grounds of Old Elitch Gardens.