_smith_ - View my recent photos on Flickriver


"I have seen the moment of my greatness flick'r..."

--T.S. Eliot


I want to incorporate everything, understand everything, because time is cruel and nothing stays the same.

--Norman Rush


If I could tell the story in words, I wouldn't need to lug around a camera.

--Lewis Hine


Look, I'm not an intellectual -- I just take pictures.

--Helmut Newton


The pictures have to talk, not me.

-Robert Frank


I think a camera is an excuse to be curious.

-Eddy Pula


Ultimately photography is about who you are. It's the seeking of truth in relation to yourself. And seeking truth becomes a habit.

--Leonard Freed


Photography is both a process of engagement and a method by which we come to understand the world through that engagement.

--Larry Towell


To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them.

-- Elliott Erwitt


I wanted to make something that was complex enough to stand more than one reading. I wasn’t interested in making jokes or illustrations. Straight photography, following the medium, is intoxicating—trying to wrestle it into the form of a poem.... What’s more interesting than your own life?

--Thomas Roma


If you have faith in the richness of the everyday world and the willingness to collaborate with chance happenings, you can make a picture that exceeds anything your mind could come up with.

-Mark Steinmetz


Even though most people still don't seem to understand how manipulative photography is - how it changes experience - if it didn't, it wouldn't be so magical. A clue as to why photography is so wonderful is that it does its own thing; it creates a new reality.

--Bill Dane


I'm interested in people and people things.

--Lee Friedlander


My intention is to make interesting photographs. That’s it, in the end. I don’t make it up. Let’s say it’s a world I never made. That’s what was there to deal with.

--Garry Winogrand


When I'm photographing, I don't see photographs, I see faces.

-Garry Winogrand


For me the true business of photography is to capture a bit of reality (whatever that is) on film…if, later, the reality means something to someone else, so much the better.

-Garry Winogrand


A photograph should be more interesting than the subject and transcend its obviousness.

-Jeffrey Ladd


…to persevere, when the times are bad, when you and your wife are arguing, and you have no money, and your photography sucks that you have to keep on going. and going, and going, and going…

--Bruce Gilden


The primary problem is to learn to be your own toughest critic. You have to pay attention to intelligent work, and to work at the same time. You see. I mean, you’ve got to bounce off better work. It’s a matter of working.

--Garry Winogrand


A photograph is a fossil. That is what a camera does.

--Donna Ferrato


Even though my photographs might be about a place or a country, ultimately my photos are my life biography.

--Jason Eskenazi


You know how few of the pictures you take turn out to be any good.

--Diane Arbus


Taking good pictures is easy. Making very good pictures is difficult. Making great pictures is almost impossible.

--Constantine Manos


Photography is about failure.

--Larry Clark


I only use the camera like I use a toothbrush. It does the job.

--Don McCullin


If you don't carry a camera you are not a photographer.

-Don McCullin


We are only as good as the people who come before us. We may think we're natural born but it's not true, it's all a lie. We learn as we go along and we owe a lot to the people who come before us.

-Larry Towell


I always wanted to be a photographer. I was fascinated with the materials. But I never dreamed I would be having this much fun. I imagined something much less elusive, much more mundane.

-Lee Friedlander


At our best and most fortunate we make pictures because of what stands before our camera, to honor what is greater and more interesting than we are. We never accomplish this perfectly, though in return we are given something perfect--a sense of inclusion. Our subject thus redefines us, and is part of the biography by which we want to be known.

- Robert Adams


Life should be an adventure. Anything else is a crying shame.

-Warren Haynes


There is no wealth but life.

-John Ruskin


I'm just a human being trying to make it in a world that is very rapidly losing its understanding of being human.

--John Trudell


I photograph to remember.

--Pedro Meyer


Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.

--Cyril Connolly


I am against virtuosity for its own sake, technique should enrich the action.

--Alfred Hitchcock


These fragments I have shored against my ruins.

--T.S. Eliot


The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.

—Old Arab proverb


Flickr is my scrapbook; my memories, my work prints, my wall. I mostly do candid street photography these days; I enjoy documenting the human condition. Film is my favorite medium ... for now. Feedback is always appreciated. And thanks for looking.


My flickr namesake once got me a short interview in an online magazine. (Sorry about the lousy scans.) It's here: www.smithmag.net/2006/10/31/boo-a-flickr-halloween-stream...



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  • JoinedOctober 2004
  • OccupationAmateur photographer
  • HometownBorn: Bartlesville, OK
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Photos of _smith_


Write a testimonial
Heavenly Caption (deleted)

He makes me want to take my camera everywhere.

December 23, 2010
john/ says:

no one i know of evokes mood better than _smith_. i feel his photos as well as see them. he reaches across time and space and speaks to us. thank you, michael.

March 18, 2009
Curved Weather (deleted)

I don’t have to praise the photographic qualitity and technical skill of Smith’s pictures. They are too obvious. There’s more to it: For me his photographs are like authentic echoes from a world Greil Marcus once called that “old weird America”. Looking at Smith’s pictures immediately fills your head with sounds, pictu… Read more

I don’t have to praise the photographic qualitity and technical skill of Smith’s pictures. They are too obvious. There’s more to it: For me his photographs are like authentic echoes from a world Greil Marcus once called that “old weird America”. Looking at Smith’s pictures immediately fills your head with sounds, pictures and notes of American 20th century’s culture, with today’s news and yesterday’s history. Taking pictures in the great tradition of American social-documentary photography Smith is a critical chronicler of the fading away “American Dream” that has too often changed into a nightmare. His allday oberservations are precise and sharp, often melancholic and poetic, showing the familiar as displeasing – like “weird scenes from the goldmine” (Jim Morrison). He explores and documents abandoned homes like a “preventive archaeologist”, not like an intruder, his camera is his shovel and his notebook. Those sad and moving, but also beautiful post-war-like pictures and his wonderful portraits of people - homeless boys in the streets of New York or workers on their last working day before their factory will be closed down – have one thing in common: he always gives the people - even if they are not present in the pictures - the only thing that’s left: dignity.

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April 22, 2005
Dark Wealth (deleted)

Michael's work is unpretentious and he has the unique ability to elevate the understated beauty of ordinary life to the status of art!

January 25, 2005
drp says:

There is a "richness" to Michael's work...in tone, subject matter, color, light, etc. It's as if the world has been magnified, saturated. And you cannot help but bathe in it.

October 30, 2004