Join Chris Orwig for an in-depth discussion in this video Creating photographs deepens who we are, part of Narrative Portraiture: On Location in New York with Rodney Smith.
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Rodney Smith: Well, you know, this one thing that was very helpful for me was Inge…Morath, who was the photographer who actually got me to Magnum. I don't know.…Inge Morath once said to me--you know, because there have always been…thousands of people who want to be photographers--and she said to me. "Look, if…you are good, there is always room."…And I have found that advice-- I remember it very well, and it…was many, many, many years ago.…
And I remember that very well, because, like, you have to remember, no one has…held a gun to one's head to be a photographer;…it's something one chooses on their own volition. And it's not easy.…There's a lot of competition.…There is a lot of difficulties with it, all over the place.…But it's something you choose, and it's really important, even though there are…times where one wants to become cynical or angry or resentful, to really not let…yourself do that, to realize this is a life freely chosen, and the good and the…bad comes with that.…
Chris Orwig: Photography is indeed competitive--fiercely competitive.…
The course begins with a wide-ranging conversation between Chris and Rodney, during which they discuss Rodney's work, his approach to photography and models, his love of film and of black and white, and the importance of creating photographs that both ask questions and tell stories. Next, Chris tours Rodney Smith's studio, including the darkroom, to get more familiar with Rodney before photographing him.
Chris then takes a series of portraits of Rodney. Along the way, he reviews his gear choices and the compositional decisions he makes, and discusses the importance of committing photographs to paper, particularly in today's digital age. Finally, Chris reviews the images and shares some insights from his conversation with Rodney.