Mystery and manners, romance and fun—the sophisticated compositions and stylish characters in the extraordinary pictures of fashion photographer Rodney Smith (1947–2016) exist in a timeless world of his imagination. Born in New York City, Smith started out as a photo-essayist, turned to portrait photography, and found his niche, and greatest success, in fashion photography. Inspired by W. Eugene Smith, taught by Walker Evans, and devoted to the techniques of Ansel Adams, Smith was driven by the dual ideals of technical mastery and pure beauty.
This lavish volume features nearly two hundred reproductions of Smith’s images—many that have never before been published—and weaves together a biocritical essay by Getty Museum curator Paul Martineau and a technical assessment of Smith’s production by the Center for Creative Photography’s chief curator, Rebecca A. Senf. It maps Smith’s creative trajectory—including his introduction to photography, early personal projects, teaching, commissioned pieces, and career in fashion—and provides insight into his personal life and character, contextualizing his work and creative tendencies within his privileged but lonely upbringing and complex emotional and psychological makeup. Rodney Smith is the definitive record of the life’s work and worldview of a truly original artist.