Ken Smith Photo Journal

Archive for February, 2010

another day in aviation

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biplane pilot

I began flying when I was 15, and my first adventures in writing and photography were in expressing my love for aviation. I wrote many articles illustrated with photographs for aviation magazines, was a regional editor, and had a monthly column.


One of my good friends who I hung out with at his grass airfield in Texas, had a saying. After flying our restored 1940′s classic airplanes in a beautiful formation flight at sunset, landing under the wide Texas sky….Jess would say, “just another day in aviation”. It was a bold understatement, for we knew there was something special about the sky and flying airplanes that went all the way back to the earliest adventures, and we felt fortunate to be sharing that legacy.


This picture is of another friend flying his Fleet biplane on an afternoon over Texas, making a tight turn. I was shooting from the front cockpit, looking back towards the tail. The Canon F-1 was set with a slow shutter speed to show the motion in the turn, and a 20mm wide angle lense was used to broaden the scene. It was shot on slide film and I am partial to the color version, but I go back and forth between color and sepia versions. They each have a unique feeling.

Written by Ken Smith

February 23rd, 2010 at 11:28 am

Posted in Aviation

rose spider

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One of the reasons I started this blog was the opportunity to show images I have made or are making that may never be part of my fine art photography website. In the lee of the recent Valentine’s Day celebration, I thought this rose image appropriate.

rose spider

I titled it Rose Spider, tho I’m sure there isn’t such a spider in existence, except for maybe this one day. The image was made years ago with my trusty Canon F-1, and 50mm f3.5 macro lens. Remember Kodachrome film?

Written by Ken Smith

February 16th, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Posted in Fauna,Flora

going back going forward

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White Tree

White Tree

More than a few visitors to the recent opening of my nude show were surprised that all of the prints on the wall were shot with film. In fact, one was even made as late as 2005 with an old Burke and James 5×7 view camera, using film large enough you can hold it up to the window like it was already a print. Even with all the digital photography in our lives, there is still something special about shooting with film. I have recently been pulling out my medium format equipment, and I have images in my mind’s eye destined to be made with the 5×7. I have a shelf and a half in the freezer that is stuffed with film. And I’ve even arranged the darkroom sink – moved the ink cartridge filling equipment – so I can develop some 5×7 paper negatives.

I was reminded of the sentiment and the sensibility when I read Mark Tucker’s recent blog post…

Make sure you read the comments too, for these photographers are bringing something to discuss that is serious to them. There seems to be a wave bouncing off the shore of digital work, getting many reenthused with film and the machines that expose it. We all have our own reasons, sometimes logical or simply an aesthetic loneliness.

White Tree was made with a film-shooting plastic Holga camera in 1994. I am printing this one 20×20” – one of 10 pieces for a gallery show in Iowa in July.

Written by Ken Smith

February 11th, 2010 at 2:20 pm

Posted in Landscape

the gallery opening

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show opening                                                                                                                                                                                                              photo by yuko ishii

The opening reception for my new show was yesterday. It was well attended and there was good food and some discussion. I expected a bit of controversy about the nudes, but other than a few giggles from a couple 20 year old girls, the work was responded to seriously. There was talk about photographic technique from some of the other photographers, which is normally the case. I was surprised there was little talk about the philosophy behind the work, which is of great interest to me. The thing that makes it art is the most elusive and enchanting.


From the viewers, I heard which pieces were favorite, some were considered for purchase, and there were sales. About half of my handmade books sold. The Studio owners – Salyna and Jennifer – were beautiful, charming hosts. Thank you!


I will be having a gallery talk and discussion later in the month, and we will spend some time on the artist statement, the artist and the model. How I entice art from myself and my subject matter, whether it is still life, landscape, or working with a woman.


I am one year short of two decades, devoting myself to making fine art photography. And after refining techniques, craft and the business, I feel I am just locating myself on the path of understanding the art. My relationship to the art. I am literally overwhelmed with creative ideas and new ways to present my work. Very exciting, and material for future writing.


Written by Ken Smith

February 7th, 2010 at 9:18 pm

Posted in Nude

love your artwork…

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I got an email the other day. “Hello,  I am so excited that I came across your artworks on internet search, I am interested in purchasing the following works from you….”


The writer wanted to know more information, prices, etc. So I took some time out from making books for the show, and put together prices for the two editioned sizes, matting costs if that was wanted, some description material.


Next day I got a response to my email. “Good to read you again.” Eager to go ahead with purchases. I am moving to a new home. Please send me your address and phone so my shipping agent can contact you….


My radar popped up, for I knew then it was probably a scam. A waste of my time, an attempt to get personal information, or launder a bad cashier’s check. I had heard of scams where a purchaser buys something, sending you a cashier’s check. You deposit it, and send the goods. Then the buyer decides he doesn’t want the goods, and please wire a refund back. After the refund is made, you learn from your bank that the cashier’s check was fraudulent, and you’ve lost the cash of the refund. There are places along the way to stop the scam, but if it carries thru, you come out the loser.


So I tested the buyer by asking first for his shipping address – that I don’t ship to all countries, and stating that I would take PayPal in payment, where he/she can use a credit card or a bank account. Needless to say, I never heard back from the criminal, not one word. Why do we need to deal with this, when there is real work to do in life?



Written by Ken Smith

February 7th, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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