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RODNEY SMITH (1947-2016)

Rodney Smith was born in New York City, and after graduating with a degree in theology from Yale University he began travelling throughout the world while making photographic portraits of workers, farmers, and landscapes.  Following in the footsteps of Ansel Adams, he mastered the zone system, a photographic technique for determining optimal film exposure and development. Smith’s signature style of using light to reveal his subjects was rendered in a broad spectrum of tones, ranging from crisp white highlights, to deep velvety shadows. In this way, he edited his world, making it sharper and clearer, bringing order to chaos.  

In the mid-1980’s, Smith’s work caught the attention of art directors and magazine editors, who commissioned him to create journalistic portraits of CEO’s.   By the mid-90’s, Smith’s oeuvre expanded to include fashion and his editorial clients such as The New York Times Magazine, W Magazine, Vanity Fair, Departures, and New York. Smith was also immersed in shooting fashion advertising campaigns for Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, Ralph Lauren, and Paul Stuart, among others, demonstrating a distinctive style of witty surrealism.

Rodney Smith died in 2016.

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