Rodney Smith : Analog Fine Art Photography
Recalling Magritte works, photographs Rodney Smith bewitch us in his surreal universe. As if he was staring at the time, the artist manages to subjugate us with strange and poetic shots.
Rodney Smith, a prominent photographer whose whimsical work invited comparisons to that of the Belgian surrealist René Magritte’s, died on Dec. 5 at his home in Snedens Landing, N.Y. He was 68.
The people in Mr. Smith’s photographs carry umbrellas and wear hats, often bowlers. Some peer into binoculars as if they can see into the future. Others lean into space at odd angles, Buster Keaton-like, or are poised to leap from a building ledge or airplane wing. A few have their faces obscured by hats, boxes and lampshades.
In the catalog to a 2003 show of Mr. Smith’s photography at the University of Virginia, Jonathan Stuhlman, an art writer and curator, wrote, “In Smith’s enchanted world, balance produces beauty, laughter and whimsy dance hand in hand, and things are not always what they seem.” The photographs, he wrote, offer “a perfect blend of reverie and reality.”
Besides Ms. Smolan, his second wife, Mr. Smith is survived by a daughter, Savannah, and a son, Jonah, from his first marriage, which ended in divorce; a sister, Marianne Harrison; and two grandsons.
Mr. Smith could be candid on his blog about his work and his life. Interviewing himself on it in 2014, he wrote: “I put my life on the line for photography and it returned the effort with abundance. Its gift back to me was a me devoid of most of my neuroses. One who is clear, sharp and energetic.”
Yet in another post he wrote that beneath the joy and fancifulness of his photographs “is a loneliness, a slow whiff of sadness and an everlasting melancholy.”