About Sam - Sam Smith Photography
  • About Sam

My artistic mission – like any worthwhile artistic mission – is more of a journey than a place.

When I bought my first camera way back in summer of 2012, I imagined that I’d be a shooter of majestic Colorado landscapes. That isn’t what happened, though. I accidentally discovered the world of classic cars, and for the next couple of years I became something of a specialist in the wonderful automotive designs of the mid-20th century.

Cars led to trains (and other kinds of machinery), and that was pretty much who I was. In a way it makes sense that I’d focus on technophilia, society’s complex, ambivalent and sometimes utterly twisted worship of our own handicraft. I’ve always been fascinated by design, art, architecture and technology, subjects that intrigue me at an intellectual as well as an aesthetic level. In the ‘90s, I earned a PhD from the University of Colorado, where my dissertation examined the history of technology and the ideologies that informed it. My photography is seemingly the one place where both my left and right brains can truly work in concert.

Still, there's a pervasive tension between the machine and the garden. I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in the nation (North Carolina), so intense natural beauty is coded into my DNA. Perhaps inevitably, the past couple years have found me paying more attention to the vegetable and animal than the mineral. I know very little about flowers, but have developed a serious love for them (especially orchids), even though I usually have no idea what I’m photographing at the moment.

Finally, the last year especially has seen me circling back around to the landscape and historical culture of the Rocky Mountain West in a way that wasn't at all deliberate, but that feels almost fated.

I shoot with a (bright red) Nikon D5300. I use a basic Nikor 18-105 zoom, a fixed 60mm Nikor macro and a Tamron 10-24 wide-angle in roughly equal measure. My processing workflow begins in Lightroom and then dives into Photoshop and an array of filters from the Nik Suite (primarily Viveza, Dfine, Color Efex Pro and Silver Efex Pro).

I’ve been fortunate to feature in a number of shows in the past four years and recently won first prize in the Interiors category in the 2016 Doors Open Denver Photography Contest.

I live in the West Highlands neighborhood on the grounds of Old Elitch Gardens.