Interviewer: Angela Cappetta
Los Angeles artist Aline Smithson is engaged in all aspects of the artistic lifestyle. Tirelessly keeping her finger on the pulse of the art world with her blog LENSCRATCH, she devotes as much brain space to her own remarkable photography as time allows. She is one of my heroes. The work I am featuring is from her series In Case of Rain. It is a look at the remarkable beauty of simple pleasures in a desensitized world.
Her work has been shown in galleries and museums around the world, most recently at the Santa Barbara Art Museum and the Center for Fine Art Photography in Colorado.
“We live in a world full of technical distractions. I see my children gathered around their computers as though it’s a summer campfire, faces aglow, as they peer into a world of friends and fantasy, participating in a new forms of entertainment that further remove them from the childhood that I experienced.
Today’s generation has lost touch with the activities that previous generations have enjoyed—reading a good book in a comfortable chair, playing board games on a rainy day, flipping through Life magazines, or sprawling out on the living room rug while listening to records and reading the backs of album covers.
And it’s because of this that I have been looking at bookshelves and untouched childhood pursuits with a new eye. With great sadness, I realize that these objects will someday be obsolete, at least in their current incarnations. And like a curator of antiquities, I see them now as beautiful objects to be admired and preserved, if only on film.
I can only hope for rain, a heavy rain and maybe a power outage.”
1) What’s your thought process behind your work? I work internally, observing my immediate world and make work about it. Sometimes it’s conceptual, and sometimes straight observation.
— 2) Do you shoot a lot? I shoot all the time, but shoot much more in the summer when I am not teaching. I carry a camera with me when I travel, which I have been doing a lot of lately, but am not making significant work, simply documenting things I see. I am part of a collective, Six Shooters, where I need a wide range of images as there is not time to shoot a response image–and I also have a stock agency, so some of my strays will find homes.
— 3) Where do you photograph? I photograph everywhere, but a lot of my work is made at home or at familiar places, like the lake house we visit every summer. I think, for me, that limiting my spaces makes me more creative.
— 4) Why are you interested in this subject matter? I began my photography career in a traditional way, in the darkroom, using old cameras. I still shoot that way, but I find that much of what interests me is looking at how rapidly our world is changing, in so many areas of our lives, and I want to slow down and capture things before they are gone.
— 5) Does your calling as a blog master get in the way of having time to make work? Hmmm…never hear the term blog master! What started as a way of sharing my own work six years ago has resulted in an amazing international community of image makers that I am so excited to share with others. I post every day–a commitment I made to myself from the beginning, so YES, without a doubt, it gets in the way of making my own work, but it makes me work even harder to accomplish things. I use my time wisely and focus.
— 6) What do you see yourself photographing next? I have a new project that is not at all similar to what I have done before (and I’m not ready to share it)–I think it’s good to shake things up–I’m not someone who has to make similar work…I like using my imagination to try lots of approaches…I’m leaning towards my conceptual side lately.
Interviewer: Angela Cappetta