Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey

Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey


Photographs from Twenty Five Years

Foreword by Marianne Fulton
Essay by John Bratnober

The challenge always is to balance the allure of the subject matter with my own visual concerns and sense of abstraction. — Michael A. Smith

Hardbound Edition of 2750 copies
Published: 1992
176 reproductions, 192 pages
9 5/8" x 11"
ISBN: 978-09605646-4-0"


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Michael A. Smith: A Visual Journey was published on the occasion of a major twenty-five year retrospective exhibition at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House. It brings together for the first time in one volume a broad and varied selection of Smith's prodigious work.

The large number of reproductions trace the growth of his distinctive and life-affirming vision in photographs of the land, cities, and people. A foreword by Marianne Fulton, Senior Curator at the International Museum of Photography at George Eastman House places Smith's work in an historical context, and an insightful essay by John Bratnober probes the connection between the photographs and the life of the artist. A complete chronology and bibliography are included.

The high production standards combined with the beauty of the photographs insure that this high-quality publication will stand as one of the finest monographs ever produced. Every detail of production was supervised by the photographer. Printed by Gardner Lithograph using the laser Fultone process on specially manufactured, heavy, coated Cameo Dull paper, the 176 reproductions have remarkable fidelity to the delicacy and luminosity of the original photographs. Included are 24 fold-outs for reproduction of the large-scale 8x20-inch contact prints. An elegant and sturdy French-fold dust jacket complements the fineness of the book itself.

From the Foreword by Marianne Fulton

Having carefully considered the technical matters of print size, exquisite detail, and quality printing long ago, Michael A. Smith proceeds to work behind the view camera with great feeling and intuition.

This blend of total control and absolute freedom results in images with fresh insight into the subject portrayed as well as into the field of photography. . . . Whether on a rooftop in New Orleans or a canyon rim in Arizona, Smith pushes himself relentlessly to discover the picture before him. . . . Smith brings together the tradition of the fine print as exemplified in Edward Weston's photographs and the western views of nineteenth-century photographer Timothy O'Sullivan. . . . Smith has elaborated on both paths, translating them through his contemporary sensibility towards portraiture, landscape, and urban spaces.

From the essay, A Visual Journey, by John Bratnober

He makes only contact prints . . . from 8x10-inch, 8x20-inch, and 18x22-inch negatives which have a tonal richness and an abundance of detail impossible to achieve with enlargements. . . . Smith's photographs are filled with spirit and life. Their beauty derives from a graceful ordering of spatial, tonal, and textural relationships that arise with the dynamic synergy of a musical ensemble.