kristen smith


JONATHAN CHERRY: When did you last see the sunrise?

KRISTEN SMITH: I can’t say for sure but I’m going to assume that it was sometime during winter break. Since I’m not taking any 8am classes this semester I try to squeeze in every minute of sleep I can possibly get before I have to get up and tackle the day.

JC: Any emerging artists inspiring you at the moment?

KS: One of my favorite photographers has always been Garrett Faber. I love looking at his work. It is easy to see that he isn’t afraid to push boundaries. He does things differently and that really inspires me.

I also really like Carey Ciuro, Alberto Vargas, StefanGeorgi, Steven Siegel and so many others. I network a lot on Flickr. (I know I’ll probably regret leaving people out but there are really so many great photographers whose work I love looking at as often as I can.)

JC: What’s your current project all about?

KS: If I had to say that I had two main focuses right now they would be street photography and portraiture. There’s nothing that I love more than going into the city with a camera or two and spending the whole day exploring and shooting. Portraiture is my favorite though because it is so versatile. When shooting architecture or something, what’s there is there, for the most part. With people you have the opportunity to present them in any way that you wish. You can rearrange them into different locations and positions and have control over their physical appearance, for the most part. I love being able to make the person that I’m shooting feel good about themselves and I think that portraiture is something that is really important because people are always changing. I want to help people remember different times in their life and the person that they were during that time.

JC: Where are you currently living and how is it shaping you?

KS: I currently live within a very close vicinity to New York City (but on the Jersey side.) Originally I am from a small town in upstate NY. Small town may be an understatement. There is one stoplight in my hometown. Anyway, when I was 18, I moved to Long Island and that is when I really began exploring NYC. It was something that I never imagined that I would’ve had the opportunity to do and now I go into the city as often as time allows. It really inspires me. There’s always something new to discover and something in the city for everyone. At this time in my life I don’t think I ever want to live too far from NYC.

JC: One piece of advice to recent photography graduates?

KS: Don’t be afraid. Ask questions. Be brave. Reach out to others. Stay inspired. And if you get rejected in any way, don’t let it stop you from trying again. Something has got to give somewhere along the line. Hard work pays off and if you never try, you’ll never know.

Be yourself. It is a big world out there. There are billions and billions of people out there. Someone is bound to like your work, even if others don’t. Appreciate that person. (Or those people.) 

JC: Any big plans for 2013?

KS: Yes! I have a few shoots lined up for the near future that I am really looking forward to (one being shooting the cast of a play in the city during their dress rehearsal.) My two main goals for the year are to network myself more and to always, always, always have a camera on me. I recently purchased a point and shoot and the convenience and quality makes me wonder why I even need to have a DSLR, lenses, flashes and the whole nine. Sometimes people get hung up over the gear, but the saying holds true that “the best camera is the one you have on you.”

JC: Favourite tree?

KS: Mountain Ash.