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Paul Smith

Paul Smith


Feels he has had natural threads through his work and life

Joined the army in 1985

from Paul Smith Lecture

He had this idea what the army would be like

Joined the junior leaders, 15years 10months old

Feels he was a kid, how could he make a sensible judgment

Why did he join, this is what he covers time and time again in his work

It wasn’t what he was expecting

The options were to go to Uni (10% roughly would at that time) or to go into work

He wanted to start diving; they offered this training in the army

It is seen as heroic

A year spent in Dover, and then sent to the cold war in Germany

Given a bridge to plan to blow up, incase the Russians came

Retrained as a paramedic, 6 weeks intensive training, army medic

from Paul Smith lecture

He then realized what he loved at school was art, he picked up a camera and started to document what was around him at the time, on one shoulder his camera and the other was his first aid bag

6weeks evening class in photography, exhibition at a local library

One of the officers came to the exhibition

The actual army photographer got sacked and Paul Smith got given his job

from Paul Smith lecture

His job was to document post war crimes, became very familiar with the Geneva Convention

He left the army after 5 years, and started a foundation course on art and design

He then came to Coventry

Photography wasn’t really accepted as art at this time

So he linked it with printmaking

After that he decided to see if he could become a pure photographic artist

He grew up in Australia and had a yearning to go back there

He took a year out, and did a research project into contemporary aboriginal art

Jimmy Pike, fascinating aboriginal artist, he had never seen a white person until later in his life

Interview with Jimmy Pike, he arranged for Paul to have an evening dinner with people in the bush

from Paul Smith Lecture

by Jimmy Pike

4months later he came out of the bush, he was invited to stay… so he did

learn through stories

Went back to college, however he had no money, so he took another year out

He became a photographer for the Duke of Edinburgh’s award

Started also work with the Royals

Went to Africa with Prince Edward

Fantastic opportunity to see another culture

Opened exhibitions for him etc

Bavarian mountain climbing photography, for D of E

Try to make a 40year old climber look like a adolescent, so decided to use silhouetting

Graduated from Coventry Uni

Realized he wanted more training in photography

Went onto the Royal College of Art

Hellen Chadwick, told him to refocus on his army career and do a project on this

Inspiration was from his childhood, playing war games

It was a fantasy element, he never really thought about what would happen if he really did get shot

He looked at Great War photography, and started creating multiple self portraits

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

People felt that it was cheating, just fiddling with a few buttons

Tried Black and white again, however he didn’t think it worked

So he stuck to his guns and carried back on his path of working

Original artists formed the SAS

Snuck into enemy area, and sketched their tranches

Artist rifles

Borrowed weapons from his brother, as he was still in the military

His work had connections to all sorts of wars, Vietnam etc.

Charles Saatchi, a collector of art, wanted to meet him

Charles Saatchi bought his work

Flood of people came to see his work, as they realized he was going to be big, as Saatchi had bought it

Meant he could buy himself a Mac

“Make my night”, next series of work

The way you got round boredom in the army was to drink

Got hammered on a regular basis

To fit in you had to drink more etc

Need to be accepted, people identified with this

He realized he didn’t want to do this any more, so he made a series about it

Looking from a male perspective, drunken photographs became sexual

Acting up for the camera

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

Bought by Elton John, and Michael Jackson

New Neurotic realism


I get knocked down, but I get up again

The loops over lap, never actually a start and end of the loop, certain loops start at different times to the others etc

Intentionally design for a gallery

Wanted a piece that you could walk into and understand from any point

Shown in the Saatchi gallery and photographer gallery in London

Tom Hinkston asked him if he wanted to do an album cover

At first he turned him down, then he realized it was for Robbie Williams and changed his mind

Multiple images of Robbie related to sport

Skecthbook full of idea

Football, another sketchbook of work

Robbie loved the idea so much that it went from taking a cover, to doing a shoot for 3days, and getting a series of images

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

Budget was well into the 6 figures, anything within reason

Sent out to hire Wembley stadium

Got himself an agent, Mark George, represent Richard Avedon etc

Chelsea stadium instead

Robbie wanted the 80s look

Had stylists, and make up artists working for him

Cheeky chap, being a bit outrageous

Down side was that every one new him as the multiple image guy

New style


Shooting directly upwards

Designed to go on the ceiling, light boxes, only light from these light boxes

The edge of mortal immortal

by Paul Smith

“This is not pornography”

Another subject that was dear to the squaddies hearts


Dreaming about someone else

Computer usage, visual aesthetic

Absolutely smacked you in the face, of this has used a computer, visual aesthetic

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith

What happens in hotel room?

Great Eastern Hotel


A turning point, where he realized commercial work was beneficial

Lloyds building, inspired by the action

by Paul Smith

“Mr Smith”

Celebrity culture, people would assume that because he worked with Robbie, so that he would be best mates with him, and know gossip

Touched by a celebrity

Series where he slowly turned into a celebrity

by Paul Smith

by Paul Smith


Completely different

Bullets, how they appeared afterwards

Ricocheted of a wall

Creating beautiful objects to photograph

by Paul Smith

A brilliant talk that I found deeply inspiring. It was amazing how similar my ideas have been to his already. My work I have previously done echoed a lot of similar ideas. I understood where he was coming from, and greatly enjoyed the talk.

To Edit series

To edit

 -Prepare material for publication by correcting, condensing, modifying

-Choose material for  (a media production) and arrange it to form a coherent whole

-(Edit something out) remove unnecessary or inappropriate material from a text, film, or radio television programme.


Select material

Condense/remove unnecessary material

Organise into a coherent whole


The edit is dependent on the dissemination method:


-Photo book

-Portfolio- book or box of prints

-Magazines editorial

-Photojournalism/photo essays- print layout or digital slide show

-Online website, blog or slideshow

The edit is also dependent on the type of photography project

-Sequential or series/collection

1. A sequence of photographs only makes sense in a certain order

2. A non-sequential series of photographs can normally be arranged in two ways:

-To create a narrative

-To compliment formal (colour, tone, shape) aspects of the pictures

-Or both

How to begin:

-Contact prints of all work shot to date on your project

-Or Small work prints to spread out on a table

Contact sheets tell the truth behind a photograph

They unveil its process, and provide its back-story. Was it the outcome of what a photographer had in mind from the outset?

Diane Arbus, chose because of the power and craze behind it, different feel compared to the others

Did it emerge from diligently worked sequence, or was the right shot down to pure serendipity

by Diane Arbus

Editing technique- the sequence

A family album is an edited chronological sequence

Eadward Muybridge is famous for his series work

by Eadward Muybridge

Steven Pippin, Laundromat Locomotion (1997), a modern take

by Steven Pippin

David Hilliard, “Andreu (man at mirror), 1997

by David Hilliard

JoAnn Verburg, “exploding Triptych, 2000

by JoAnn Verburg

A possible idea to display a series would be a Concertina Books

Duane Michals, The spirit leaves the body

by Duane Michals

Non-linear serial work

Narrative work

-Julian Germain, 2005

by Julian Germain

Poetic narrative work

“Roaming”, Todd Hido, 2004

by Todd Hido

Alec Soth “ sleeping by the Mississippi river”

by Alec Soth

Magazine work, the double page spread


Dazed and Confused

Tim Walker

by Tim Walker

Vogue, Tim Gutt, Star Signs editorial feature 2010

by Tim Gutt

by Tim Gutt

After we did an exercise on editing a series for a magazine spread, I found it interesting to see how many different options there were, and how my group edited compared to the professional edit. I still personally like our personal edit, as we kept black and white with black and white, and colour with colour. The professional edit mixed to two, which I didn’t agree with personally.

Carolyn Lefley

Carolyn Lefley


-BA Fine Art 1997-2000

-Wanted to do painting, however changed her mind and decided on photography

-Robert Rauschenberg

“ Painting relates to both art and life. Neither can be made, (I try to act in that gap between the two)”

by Robert Rauschenberg

-Using the ready made, combining photography with painting

-“Empty Homes” 2000, Accessing homes between owners

-Traces of where the previous occupant had been living

-“View point” 2001, She sees them as portraits, lonely seaside watchmen, abandoned telescopes, personifying inanimate objects

-“The watchers” 2004, printed 1m, you get a sense of being in the space

-The TV became almost a segregate member of the family, each image on lit by the TV screen light, 10mins exposure, taken from the TV viewpoint

-Get into the régime of working 9 till 5 and then watching TV

by Carolyn Lefley

-MA in photography, “Home” 2005, Homeliness, Happiness, you can tell somebodies life

-Photographed her familiar family home where she grew up, however it feels unfamiliar coming back to it, and over grown child.

-Photographing at night, with the shadows, using the aesthetics to show her feelings

-The duvet almost seems like an ocean, a landscape within the room

by Carolyn Lefley

-“Semi Detached” 2006, an architectural mirror in the next door neighbours, but different

-The neighbours were very private, so she used a friend’s house she was familiar with and her neighbours

-They didn’t realize how similar they were, so similar

by Carolyn Lefley

by Carolyn Lefley

-“Belonging” 2006, she wanted to keep working on the home, and identity, wishfullness of wanting your ideal home

-Dolls houses, was it real or a dolls houses,

-Is it streetlight, moonlight, or studio light?

-Grotty bed, old wall paper

-Goldilocks and the three bears, different beds, which one will fit, Freudian link

-Published in stimulus respond, issue winter 2007

by Carolyn Lefley

“Within” 2007, The mini home, with the huge as well, small and large, a dolls house, with the real homes stairs through the window. The earth and the Universe, Scale

by Carolyn Lefley

Troika Editions, has interviews of artists talking about their work

Photomonth (exhibition in London)

“Quotidian Snapshot” 2007-2008, (used as a breather from her serious work) one picture everyday, visual diary of 2007-2008

07.11.07 Carolyn Lefley

10.11.07 by Carolyn Lefley

“Realm” 2009-2012, Long term project, digital double exposure using photoshop, woodland scene and derelict interior

-Started with a question, road trip around Scotland, interested in visiting a landscape, linked with a fable or story, interested to see if you could reveal that story with photography? What people believe, and why people believe, photography is usually a believable document

-Realm, Fairly woodland (supernatural) with real interior, a visual language, with describes the possibility of another realm, (The lion the witch and the wardrobe, Alice and wonderland)

-Using a blending overlay on Photoshop, made it highly saturated, so then used adjustment layers, and masking some bits are revealed more than others, if using a complete double exposure, there was no room to breath

-HDR used on the window, as it was overexposed

Realm by Carolyn Lefley

-Timespan Artist in Residence

-Timespan Carolyn Lefley, to see blog

-“Wilderness” Holton Lee studio residency, 2010

-Made a forest, thinking about the creation story, 50+ stories

-Made her own Garden of Eden and then bringing in other stories

-Wanted it to look unreal, always using the same set, however different stories, belief and believability in a photographic image and faith

by Carolyn Lefley

Seeing how Carolyn Lefley’s work has progressed and developed through time was immensely interesting. I was amazed how she could photograph interiors in so many different ways.

What is Fine Art?

-A creative art form that allows artists to show their views

-Paintings and sculptures

-Expensive art



We cannot determine what fine art is, as groups of artists, movements come along and change how we think.What was considered art eye pottery with beautiful carvings, is now sub categorised as arts and crafts.

“The use of skill and imagination in the creation of aesthetic objects, environments, or experiences that can be shared with others”

Aboriginal art:

-Some of the earliest traces of art


-A story, a collection of ideas

-Cultural, cavemen would understand, perhaps we don’t

-Not a linear story

Jimmy Pike:

-Probably the most famous contemporary aboriginal artist

-Lived a traditional aboriginal life

-Had a fight to the death over a woman (aboriginal tradition)

-Ended up in prison

-Psychologist in prison introduced him to our ways of artwork

-Landscape, illustrates the land and where the people gather, similar to an ordnance survey map

by Chris Ofili

Chris Ofili:

-“Virgin Mary”

-Traditional paint and canvas

-However uses elephant dung

-In America this caused an uproar, as it was controversia using elephant dung to paint the virgin Mary

-Although he didn’t mean to cause offence, a christian himself

-Was band from exhibiting it

-Suddenly it was all over the newspapers, and he became a house hold name in america, because of the controversy over it

by John Everett

John Everett:

-Ophelia (1851)

-Shakespeare inspired, drawing inspiration from other aspects of culture

-In 1850 music, metalwork and crafts were all considered fine art

-Family member of the  Pre-Raphaelites, changing the way you think about art

-From portraits of the Kings (similar to celebrity), leading to painting because they were interested in it

by Tom Hunter

Tom Hunter:

“The Way Home” (2000)

-He was the first photographer to show work at the National Gallery

-Re-creating paintings, which is why he was allowed

-taking stories from local papers and linking them to paintings (re-creation of that story)

-The Royal Shakespeare Society then commissioned him

-All his work is based in Hackney

-The neighbourhood and whats going on around, contextualizing it

-a chapter of ongoing stories of his neighbourhood

by Jean Louis Theodore Gericault


“The Epsom Derby” (1821)

-Horse running, though we know now that they don’t run like this

by Eadward Muybridge

Eadward Muybridge:

-Motion Studies (1877)

-Bet that horses galloped differently to how people thought

-Afterward horses were never painted in the same way again

by Duchamp

Marcel Duchamp:

“Art for Arts Sake”

-Found an exhibition where you could submit anything as long as you paid

-At first he wasnt allowed to enter his piece; a urinal

-However he then took a photograph of this and enetered that

-He signed his piece R.Mutt, “Mutt” meaning fool

-Deliberately taking the mick out of the art world

by Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin:

“My Bed” (1998)


-Link to Duchamp

-Is this just another object in a Gallery?

-The difference from just seeing her bed in her room is that in the gallery it is branded a piece of art

by Damien Hirst

Damien Hurst:

“For the Love of God”

-One of the most expensive contemporary pieces of art, Left unsold

-He paid £15million, trying to sell it for £50million

-When he was making it there was an economic high

-Little did he know that when he had finished there would be the economic crash

-Hirst thought it would come across dark however he now thinks its mesmerizing

Gilbert and George:

-“Bend it”

-Something that comes from within

-Performance piece

-Self conscious

-Perhaps it is all about the idea of not feeling comfortable dasncing, how stupid you look at dancing, and celebrating that!

by Gillian Wearing

Gillian Wearing:

-1997 Turner prize

-The notion of the everyday and everyday people

-Front stage and backstage of our lives

-Wearing a mask

-Inner most thoughts clashed against how society sees them

-Public and Private is at the heart of Gillian Wearings work