Frank T. Smith, Artist Statement
I was first introduced to photography at the early age of 3 by my grandfather and since then I have been intrigued with this form of art. At this young age I obviously did not have any formal training which allowed me the freedom to explore without any preconceived ideas or rules. I had only to watch and learn from my grandfather. In my early teens, I continued to experiment with different venues, equipment and films including being fortunate to land a job at a local camera store with access to a lot of toys! In my mid to late teens I became known at school as the “guy with the camera”. I experimented more and more with abstract subjects and nature. While continuing on in high school and college, I worked for a portrait studio and did summer work for a photography group that serviced the Pocono resort(s), this was also a time when I started doing weddings for friends and family. With this foundation, I transitioned into the digital world in the early 2000s, learning the new technologies and expanding my scope of what I could do based on this new medium.
My focus today is on travel, industrial ruins, outdoors, abstract/art and philanthropic photo journalism. When I go out on a shoot, I almost always have a preconceived idea/plan in place. However, my most enjoyable work is the time when I turn around and see something totally different from my plan. I have learned not to be rigid in my expectations. I constantly try to look beyond the obvious and see into or beyond the initial subject. I see patterns, light, colors, reflections and geometry in a whole new way when I have my camera in my hand. Photography allows me this adventure and way of seeing things so differently.
On the technical side, I enjoy the macro world as much as wide angle. I try not to depend on telephoto lenses but to use my feet to move me into the correct position. I believe photography is a constantly changing art form and as such I try to stay current by teaching several workshop/classes every year. I also do exhibits at different locations throughout the year. As a photographer, I see myself as an artist. The importance for me is to identify, capture and compose the subject correctly and then (paint, sculpture, etc.) process the final image. My pleasure comes when my first critic is happy with the image - ME.
Over the past several years, a strong area of interest of mine has been international travel. I have learned through my travels and working with various other photographers, that I can leverage my skills in a philanthropic photo journalistic way. Capturing stories and cultures such as sex-trafficking in Mumbai and regional corruption in areas such as South Sudan and Haiti help to bring awareness and aid to these cultures. Being able to use my skill and resources through photography adds to my passion.
I am a self-taught photographer and an Olympus Trailblazer, a member of the Olympus Visionary Program. Olympus Visionaries are established, award-winning professional photographers who travel the world with Olympus products to capture life’s beauty and splendor. The elite members of the program include several Pulitzer Prize–winning photographers, as well as artists whose careers have included assignments around the globe. Frank Smith Olympus Trailblazer
I teach workshops and classes in conjunction with ArtsQuest, Olympus, photography clubs and regional camera stores as well as other nonprofit organizations in the region.