Allison V Smith: Behind-the-Lens

Welcome to "Behind-the-Lens", a series that will go inside the creative process of a photographer’s work. I couldn't think of a better artist to start the series with than my Texas gal pal Allison V. Smith.


There is no denying your love for Marfa. I don’t think there has been anyone else that has documented the small West Texas town so beautifully. I find your half-frames the most interesting - it’s like looking through an old View Master. When looking through a lens, what inspires you the most there and what camera do you find yourself using the most?

The emptiness and light take me back to Marfa each time. I usually bring a variety of cameras when on a road trip. Last trip I traveled with my Hasselblad, Contax, Widelux and Polaroid. I take my Hasselblad photos most seriously. The others I use as an exercise to loosen up my style.


Like myself, you have a love for the odd and mundane - finding beauty in the everyday. Tell us about the two photos above and why you chose the Lomo to shoot with?

The first photograph is my neighbors piano. All three boys play an instrument. Bob plays the piano. This piano lives in their garage. I shot it with the lomo because that was the camera I happened to have with me. The 2nd photograph is outside of the Casey Jones Village in Jackson, Tennessee. The emptiness struck me. Photography is my way of story telling. Sometimes it’s all about those odd little details.


You’ve shot musicians like Willie Nelson, Sheryl Crow, Amy Cook, The Drams, Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit just to name a few. When shooting bands or musicians, what is your inspiration? Their music, their current image, their personally?

I try not to over plan. I like letting the portrait unfold naturally. Guerilla style shooting is my favorite, if time allows. I am definitely inspired by the musicians style and personal vision. After shooting their photo, I usually become their biggest fan.


Like most photographers, you crave the open road. Where were these photos taken and what catches your eye when traveling?

Funny, all were shot in or outside of Marfa. The first is the perfect train sighting just between Marfa & Valentine. The 2nd is a half frame study from Marfa. The homage to Lee Friedlander is out Marfa, most likely shot during a dog pit stop. It’s all about space for me. How things fit in a space, divide a space, create space, exist in a space. Sometimes it’s easier for me to see the space between when I am out of the city.

1 comment:

cari ann wayman said...

great interview and pictures! she's super talented.