View Full Version : Michael SMith and Paula in B&W Magazine

tim atherton
25-Jan-2004, 23:46
Maybe I missed this on here?

I rarely buy B&W magazine these days - it just doesn't seem to do it for me (I think the ads are the most interesting things in it generally).

But the latest one caught my eye with an article about Michael Smith listed on the cover, so I plonked down my six or seven bucks for it. What a great piece (decent lenthg for an article for once) - lots of Michael and Paula's work in there, + lots of information and interestign quites and an impression of the two o them at work. Well worth it for once!

Jay DeFehr
26-Jan-2004, 08:25
I enjoyed the article and the photos, but the interview and quotes didn't add much to what I already know about Michael an Paula, which isn't much. It seems to me that Michael has a well established routine that he sticks very close to, much like a politician, and never reveals anything very meaningful about himself or his work. He seems to be a consumate salesman, and every quote or response is crafted to that end. I understand that that is the purpose and intent of the magazine and the piece, but I hoped for a revelation on Michael's part. The most insightful part of the article was the historical details of Michael and Paula's backgrounds, and especially Michael's relentless ambition to earn a living from print sales. I admire their sense of adventure, willingness to take risks and make the sacrifices necessary to fulfill that ambition.

26-Jan-2004, 09:00
What issue? I usually buy B&W at B&N, but haven't seen this one.

tim atherton
26-Jan-2004, 09:37
current issue - Feb 2004


Eric Rose
26-Jan-2004, 11:50
Actually what impressed me most was Paula's pictures. I have never enjoyed MAS's photos much. They always seemed to be devoid of a real subject beyond showcasing how much of a tonal range his techniques render. I did however get into his Oregan coastal stuff. I will be out there myself taking a workshop with Don Kirby this Sept.

MAS is a regular on APUG.ORG so if you want to get a better idea of what makes him tick check it out. He likes to get into some pretty indepth discussions on photographic philosophy.

Rob Gertler
26-Jan-2004, 11:57
I enjoyed the article immensely. Not only is Michael one of the most creative photographers currently active, but he has been consistently very generous in sharing his knowledge. To my knowledge, he is one of the few famous photographers helping us duffers and dabblers (Bruce Barnbaum is another generous teacher who comes to mind). I want to thank him for his contributions to landscape photography and his generosity in sharing what he has learned.

tim o'brien
26-Jan-2004, 18:17
I only read it (B&W) for the pictures.

tim in san jose

mark lindsey
26-Jan-2004, 23:12
maybe this quote from Michael Smith will give you some idea as to why some dislike him.....

"I am, by far, the most accomplished fine-art photographer who contributes to the LF forum. (My photographs are collected in over 100 museums, 25-year retrospective at the Eastman House in 1992, etc, etc.) In my areas of expertise, I happen to know more than anyone else who posts to this forum, and I am happy to share my knowledge. Part of that is letting people know what is available from me. Think of me as a resource. To many people, my presence on the forum lends credibility to the forum. I cannot, however, give of my time, which is VERY limited--I work over 18 hours a day and still run short of time--if I cannot occasionally make the sorts of postings I am referring to. As stated in my posting on the lf forum--I do not make these postings often. Please reaad my posting on the lf forum referred to above--and answer briefly. Thsnk you."

Donal Taylor
27-Jan-2004, 00:03
"I am, by far, the most accomplished fine-art photographer who contributes to the LF forum. (My photographs are collected in over 100 museums, 25-year retrospective at the Eastman House in 1992, etc, etc.)"

Humm - If the above statement is an accurate one, I know of at least one other contributor here who has something like 7 monographs of their worked published, contributor to numerous other books, a Guggenheim Fellowship, work in the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Museum of Modern Art, New York, Fonds National d'Art Contemporain, Paris - and numerous other public and private collections, Shows at the San Diego Museum of Contemporary Art, Documenta IX, Kassel, Musee de L'Elysee, Lausanne, The Field Museum, Chicago, Group shows at MoMA, National Gallery of Canada, etc etc.

As well as another occasional contributor with shows at the Victoria & Albert Museum, the Tate Modern and MoMA's PS1 etc etc, along with several monographs and work in collections too umerous to list.

Those are just two, perhaps who chose not to toot their own horn, but who have still shared their expertise freely.

to say "I am, by far, the most accomplished fine-art photographer who contributes to the LF forum" is perhaps rather overstating it - there are both more accomplished and more successful fine-art photographers on the list.

Jorge Gasteazoro
27-Jan-2004, 09:17
Donald, you gotta name names...:-). I woud certainly love to see the work from the first guy! with those credentials he must be phenomenal....and for that matter the second guy too...:-)

mark lindsey
27-Jan-2004, 22:08
Yes Donald, this is an exact quote, it was cut and pasted here from the other posting. worse yet, it was in response to Smith's not getting to use the forum as his own personal advertising space.

although I believe this is from the photo.net forums, but as we all know many people are on both forums.

28-Jan-2004, 03:32
Sorry dudes, but I think Michael A Smith IS the most accomplished photographer to contribute to this and other large format forums. It's easy to quote him, then attack his comments at face value, but put your money where your mouth is. What he says may sound arrogant, but I believe he is right, and we are lucky to have him here. Sour grapes anyone??

John D Gerndt
28-Jan-2004, 08:45
It is hard to be humble when you are putting everything on the line, promoting yourself all the time in order to pursue the thing you love. I believe Mr. Smith does love his work. For that I forgive when he oversteps the bounds of decorum and maybe even reality. If he is reading these posts, for all the assistance he lends the large format field through his giving out of good information he must know it is still incumbent on him to find some modesty. Time will be the judge of us all. I believe what he give out freely will pay him back more than any placement in any collection.

Paul Kierstead
28-Jan-2004, 09:43
I too found that Paula's photographs were more appealing, by a fair margin. Mind you, I would be overjoyed to produce the quality that Michael is producing. It was a good article, however.

Mr. Smith is quite pushy and arrogant. OTOH, some traits are highly desirable when it comes to marketing and perhaps he has some cause to be arrogant. I don't mind it all that much; perhaps it is from my days when I worked various stage jobs (technical) and he doesn't seem to be as bad as the average director; you ignore it after a while and look at the work.

I would take issue with his argument of accomplishment/knowledge, however. Even if I was to grant that he was the most accomplished photographer on this forum (although I actually have no idea whether this is true or not), it does not necessarily make him the most knowledgeable. Many of the great photographers of the past weren't particularly knowledgeable, they simply had an eye and skill which was unrivaled. In fact quite a few had minimal equipment, used only one process or two and sometimes I suspect barely knew what an aperture was. OK, that might be a little exaggeration, but not far from the truth for some of them.

Michael A.Smith
29-Jan-2004, 10:28
Some of you don't stop do you? Attack after attack. What is it with you, Mark Lindsey? You must get some sick pleasure in attacking me when my name comes up. Are you perfect? "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone."

That quote of mine is accurate, but is taken out of context,.Why did I write it? I believe, if you read the entire thread that it was a part of, you will see that I was getting hammered, and in reaction and exasperation just went overboard. It's easy to quote out of context. Cheap. And dirty. Emotionally dirty.

I wasn't "tooting my own horn," though it sure as hell sounds like I was and it can certainly be construed that way--I would do so myself, without a knowledge of the context. Those others who do not " toot their owh horn;"--do they get criticized the way I was criticized for posting an Azo availability announcement (as I suspect; without looking it up, I was doing)? The reason I believe I would have written what I did was that I felt my integrity was being called into question.

I did not say that I was the most knowledgeable contributor to this forum. I most certainly am not in most areas. What I did say, and I was accurately quoted was: "In my areas of expertise, I happen to know more than anyone else who posts to this forum . . ." and that is true, in my area of expertise.

I, too, would like to know who those other contributors are who are collected and exhibited in all those museums and who the one is who won the Guggenheim. I do read most all of the serious art and photography magazines and there has been not one person who regularly, or irregularly, posts to this site whose name I recall seeing mentioned or even listed there.

29-Jan-2004, 11:14
The question that immediately sprang to my mind was:

Why would someone go to all the trouble to cut & paste comments by Mr Smith - place them on his hard-drive where he can get at them and then keep it for a unknown length of time to be pulled out whenever the situation merits?

Suggests to me a rather unhealthy fixation of one person apon another and, as usual with such postings, says rather more about the mindset of the person making the posting than it does about the target. Clearly the whole idea is to annoy Mr. Smith. Well, it worked. How fulfilling that is, I will leave to Mr Lindsey, and others who seem to get a kick out of attacking Mr. Smith whenever he is mentioned, to decide - but it seems a rather strange way to spend one's life.

Annie M.
29-Jan-2004, 11:20
Well I for one am aware of one member who generously contributes to this list that is a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship and has work in the MOMA and we are very proud of him up here in Canada.

D. Kevin Gibson
29-Jan-2004, 11:41
Michael, I'm guessing that would be Geoffrey James - I know he used to be on the old Greenspun list, and moved over to Photo.net when this list was moved there. I'm not sure if he has been so active here since the list moved back, maybe due to commissions.




and so on

I think that he (and others of his ilk who have shown up here) don't make their money from selling paper or workshops etc (nothing wrong with that BTW), rather from Grants, fellowships, commissions, print sales and prizes (and maybe books... if you ever make any money off them?). I know James recently won two major awards for his book "Paris" - one of which was for $30,000.00 (?) - so that must help.

But certainly world class photographers - as are others who have shown up on here and are willing to chat.

Michael A.Smith
29-Jan-2004, 22:56
Thanks. Somehow, James and his work slipped through the cracks. We'll be ordering his Paris book today.

Geoffrey Swenson
30-Jan-2004, 17:29
When does the auction start? We donít want to miss it!

mark lindsey
18-Feb-2004, 22:00
just saw this today, sorry to take so long to respond.

Bob, I don't save any of the quotes, I cut and pasted it when I saw it.

I don't have any type of obsession with Mr. Smith, I just respond when I see obnoxious behavior. And I don't really respond that often to him, or about him that much, especially since so many people suck up and defend his actions.

There are plenty of people,famous or not, who make images that I don't care for. I don't confront them because I don't see them acting like a spoiled little baby who doesn't get his/her way when they don't get to be above the rules of the forum.

The fact that I find his and his wife's images dull and boring has no bearing on any of this. Many people with whom I interact on forums have dull and boring images. They just don't act like he does.