"I want to create photographs that evoke a universal memory. Photography allows me to find beauty in the mundane, joy in every day life, humor in aging, and the ability to examine a deeper self."
Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography is an almost 20 year culmination of portrait photographs captured by award-winning photographer Aline Smithson. Beginning with her early forays into black and white work, produced as darkroom silver gelatin prints, she photographed the world around her considering the poignancy of childhood and the pathos of aging and relationships. The book continues with her hand painted photographs featuring her defining series, Arrangement in Green and Black: Portrait of the Photographer's Mother, where she combines humor and family to create a universal expression of motherhood. The book is completed by her color projects that revisit beauty, the essence of childhood, and an examination of created realities. Aline brings a background in painting and fashion to her images, but at the heart of her work is her ability to recognize the inner self of her subjects. The photographer considers all her portraits a reflection of herself and the stories she wants to tell, and in that way, she has created a visual language that is her own unique autobiography.
"This book will not only be a celebration of her restless dedication to her photographic career and her formal explorations of the medium, but also of her constant involvement and contribution to the international photo community.” —Julien Beaupré Ste-Marie, Managing Editor, The Magenta Foundation
A short interview with Aline Smithson
Aline Smithson: The book will be an almost twenty year culmination of my portrait photographs, selected from 18 bodies of work, featuring over 100 photographs. The book will begin with my early black and white photographs all originally produced as silver gelatin prints, moving on to my hand painted silver gelatin work that was my first foray into color and finishing with the color images that I have created over the past decade.
AS: Creating portraits is a collaborative process where the experience becomes a two-way gaze when both photographer and subject reveal themselves to each other. I consider the subject and the subject considers me. For the most part, I create work close to home, using subjects that are family, friends, neighbors, and friends of friends. That familiarity with place and person allows for an intimacy and camaraderie, where my sitters trust in my desire to present them with dignity or with humor, but always in a way that celebrates who they are.
As an artist, I try to look for or create moments that are at once familiar, yet unexpected. I have been greatly influenced by the Japanese concept of celebrating a singular object. I tend to isolate subject matter and look for complexity in simple images, providing an opportunity for telling a story in which all is not what it appears to be. The poignancy of childhood, aging, relationships, family, and moments of introspection or contemplation continue to draw my interest. I want to create photographs that evoke a universal memory. I still only shoot film and I work with four cameras: a twin lens Rolleiflex, a Hasselblad, the Diana plastic camera, and the Holga plastic camera. The first two provide clarity and formality; the latter two provide spontaneity and simplicity. All are characteristics I would apply to myself.
Where do you find your inspiration?
AS: To be honest, I find inspiration everywhere. I mine influences from my childhood—memories of lying on the living room floor examining album covers, watching the world go by from the back seat of the family station wagon, trips to National Parks, art museums and Disneyland, but I also draw from my observations as a mother, wife, teacher, and friend and take in small moments and big ideas. I find inspiration from painters, filmmakers, and this incredible community of photographic visionaries. Whether I have a camera in hand or not, I am always taking pictures, acutely aware of what is in front of me and thinking deeply about the world we live in.
"On the one hand she does this amazing thing with the ordinary world and then on the other she has this pure designer's eye with which she creates these stunning images with juxtaposition of fantastic colors and composition." —Susan Wyler, Collector
- Photographs by Aline Smithson
- Intro by Paula Tognarelli / Executive Director of The Griffin Museum of Photography
- Essay by Karen Sinsheimer / Curator of Photography at the Santa Barbara Museum of Art
- Prologue by Aline Smithson
- Design by The Office of Gilbert Li
- Hardcover, 11 x 12 inches
- 208 pages with foldout section
- 45 B&W photographs and 60 colour photographs
- Release date: Fall 2015
- Price: $60
Special Edition Prints
A word from the artist
Over the years I have supported dozens of Kickstarter campaigns (using my personal Kickstarter account) and am very excited to create my own. We are seeking $25,000 but would love to exceed our goal to help pay for exhibition costs and travel/expenses for events related to the book. Needless to say, it is a dream to have a retrospective monograph of my portrait work and I am so appreciative of your consideration of this campaign.
A word from The Magenta
Established in 2004, The Magenta Foundation is Canada’s pioneering non-profit, charitable arts publishing house. Magenta was created to organize promotional opportunities for artists in an international context through circulated exhibitions and publications. Magenta works with respected individuals and international organizations to help increase recognition for artists while uniting the global photography community. www.magentafoundation.org
The publication of Self and Others: Portrait as Autobiography will be the first monograph by Aline Smithson. All of us here at Magenta have been big fans of the work for the past few years and we are very pleased to be working together with Aline to bring this book to fruition.
We are very excited to present this accomplished 20 year project and monograph to a global audience.
We’d like to thank everyone who participated in the video and gave us the advice and support we needed. It is very appreciated.
Thank you for helping make this book possible.
Risks and challenges
Magenta is a very experienced book publisher and is quite aware of the challenges that arise with the publication of a book and the unforeseen circumstances that may appear. Should this Kickstarter campaign be successful, we will move mountains to make sure this book is ready to go to press by June 2015 and released worldwide by September 2015.
Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography will be sold in limited quantities through this Kickstarter campaign. This is an Early Bird offering to everyone at Kickstarter first. And to be clear, this is a limited edition First Edition.
We’d also like to mention that the entire publishing budget for this special edition will cost Aline & Magenta more than the allotted Kickstarter goal to produce. Although our ask for this campaign is small, we hope that you help us achieve our full publishing budget so that we can bring you the finest production of this book possible. And the lovely thing about any Kickstarter campaign is that working together with all of you makes this entire project special and exclusive.
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