Thursday, April 07, 2005

The Romantic Eye

**FLYING CONDITIONS: Partly Sunny; Breezy**

One of my favorite photographers (and the greatest influence on me AS a photographer) is Edwin Smith.

I have to my mother to thank for introducing me to his work. When I was a teen, my mother worked as a clerk at a local county library. She loves to read - mainly mysteries and biographies - not the artsy-fartsy books I like. One of her duties was to gather all the books that were to be discarded (a crime, I know). She noticed a book called "The Romantic Eye" and thought that perhaps her dreamy, hopeless romantic, anglophile daughter would enjoy it, so she brought it home. I fell in love with the images in this book immediately. I also knew in my gut that I wanted to make pictures like that. I was compelled.

I added Photography to my high school schedule. (God bless my financially strapped mother for purchasing my first SLR camera, a manual Pentax. I can't ever thank her enough.) When I developed my first print (a horse jumping over a fence - not very Smith-like) I was hooked. There was such magic in that moment. I realized I could take a blank piece of paper and turn it into something special. I could capture fleeting moments. I could evoke emotion. I could conjure memory. I could freeze time. I was a magician.

About Edwin Smith:
Edwin Smith, the photographer, produced quintessential images of English architecture, landscapes, gardens and interiors. Trained as an architect, he was also a prolific contributor to books covering these and other subjects, often produced in partnership with his wife, the artist and author Olive Cook.

He described himself as "an architect by training, a painter by inclination, and a photographer by necessity."

Here are some of my favorite Edwin Smith Images. There are so many more I'd love to show you! The book The Romantic Eye can be purchased online at used book store, such as Alibris. Various other books can be purchased through Amazon.

Stokesay Castle, Shropshire
23 April 1959 © RIBA

The Chapter House Steps at Wells Cathedral

V. Sackville-West's boots, Sissinghurst, Kent
June 1962, © RIBA

Gates of Hardwick Hall, near Bury St. Edmunds, Suffolk
10 October 1955 © RIBA

View into the chancel. Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire
6 May 1959 © RIBA

Didmarton Parish Church, Gloucestershire,
1 July 1961 © RIBA

New Court, St. John's College, Cambrige
14 August 1964 © RIBA

Churchyard, Whitby, East Yorkshire
14 October 1956 © RIBA

Harvest Festival, Sutterton Parish Church, Lincolnshire
28 September 1956 © RIBA


Annieytown said...

Stunning photographs!
I can tell that he is one of your main influences.
Is there anyway you can scan some of your New Orleans photos?

Cerys Clevercrow said...

Patience, my love, patience. The postings have already been planned!

:) said...

Thank you (more than four years later) for this post! I had never heard of Edwin Smith, but now I will be searching for this book. I came across this post searching for Vita Sackville-West images for my site on her: . Do you also like Eugene Atget? He's my favorite. Thanks again. I've subscribed to your blog!

male masturbation toys said...

I had never heard of "romantic eyes, but it looks very interesting, I'll have to read it. and I would like to send me more information.