Juror Feature: Aline Smithson

AlineSmithson_webWhat do you look for in a series (4-6 images) I look for projects created with intention and deep thinking behind the series because a rich articulation of the work combined with beautifully captured images will always catch the eye of the photo world.  I am drawn to a wide variety of photographic styles, but the universal elements to a successful series are consistency, quality of image, light, and a strong point of view.

What do you look for in a photographer? When I review portfolios, a photographer who knows how to talk about their work, who is passionate, knowledgeable, and ready to have a conversation always impresses me. It always helps if a photographer is friendly, engaged, and cares about more than just themselves and their work.

How do you describe what you do? More than anything, I am an enthusiastic lover of all things photographic with the desire to create my own work, but also celebrate and explore the work of others.  I wear many hats—artist, editor of Lenscratch, educator (teaching at the Los Angeles Center of Photography and workshops around the country), reviewer, juror, curator, writer, and photo collector.  I have been fortunate to sit on both sides of the reviewing table and to attend numerous photo events around the U.S. and Europe so feel I have a unique point of view that gives me special perspective on contemporary photography.

What inspires you about photography? We are so fortunate to have another language with which to interpret the world.  It allows us a heightened awareness of our lives, the lives of others and our planet. For me personally, photography allows me to share my sense of humor, but also share the poignancy and pathos of life. My photographs are my autobiography, reflecting the things I think about, the people I love, the people that cross my path,

What advice would you give to a student, alumni, and emerging photographers today? It is not always easy to lead the life of a photographic artist.  Being an artist means periods of self-doubt, rejection, lack of inspiration, and simply having to step away from photography when life gets in the way. As Keith Carter says,  “You have to make uncertainty your friend”. The irony of success is that it never feels like what you think it will feel like. You still have to get back on the horse and ride to the next destination. Focus on making the best work possible, not on the awards and the accolades. Find your joy in the journey.