– ” Hero noun: 1. a person who is admired for their courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.”
For years I have been heavily interested and invested within the art of image creation, whether it be still or moving. Throughout my higher school experience I found myself picking up photography as a means to capture everything around me. I worked through analogue and digital mediums; this can now be seen as a foundation/passion/skill that allows me to apply it to different kinds of works. With this, the South-Australian based content creator Denis Smith and his practice of capturing images through long exposure and light painting photography, influenced the way I thought about material, environments and processes. Photography has developed through the passage of time, reinventing itself in correlation with techniques and technology. Smith emphasises digital elements within his field which has created works to which represent not only the traditional industry of photography/videography but also essences of material making and digital craft.
Describe his/ her practice/ work.
Photographer // Videographer – Denis Smith began as a photographer following his unhealthy corporate job in New Zealand. Smith has established a thriving video and photography production company (Smith & Collins) creating compelling, authentic pieces of online communication which capture the real essence of people, places and ideas. Today, the work which he deems to be his passion and most important is Light Photography/Painting. He has been recognised within the industry through his creation of the ‘Ball Of Light’.
Describe how his/ her practice is situated in a larger field. For example, are they pioneers in what they do? Or perhaps their works challenge the conventional ways of thinking or working? Or they are recognised as being excellent in their fields?
Smith turned to photography as a hobby where the radical evolving environments of South Australia such as colours and temperature fascinated him. He used this to produce his early works but a lot like his settings he needed to adapt to the change within the industry to pursue it further. Soon enough he realised his work was exactly like everyones he experienced online, and this is when he began experimenting with electronics and an assortment of new technologies. Technology like LED (light-emitting diode) has allowed Smith to create works that place him left field. The ‘Ball Of Light’ put Denis on the map in regards to creative content, where he has incorporated digitally induced spheres into his works. He pioneered his physical techniques of light painting, challenging the traditional uses and gratifications of materials and methods. He inverted the way in which one. This has led to his mentorship to responders following his guidelines in photography and light painting, the workshops he has established highlight the importance of physical practice, sharing specific techniques and materials that aid all creators within the field.
What is the most important thing for them that they ‘hold dear’? What is their core value?
Denis Smith’s personal core values resonate through his practice and content; he treated his practice within the field as a therapy. Being on his own, miles from any other human and just experimenting. Breathing, not caring at all about image quality, just being completely at one with himself and incredible surroundings. Smith asks those to focus on creating composition, no matter what the context of the work. As long as a story, theme, message is appealing to an individual, it is a reason why one should continue practicing.
How do you relate to this core value?
I’ve always had a strong interest in new or unconventional technologies adapted to traditional mediums and platforms. Throughout my experience in the DMC centre of UOW I have composed works that not only incorporate these interest through Smith’s influence, where long exposure photography, digitalised mediums (LED, digital photoframes, drone work) have all affected my creation and interpretation of new works. I have produced in a way that has represented some form of story that I connect with personally, whether it be my family as asylum seekers, society/religion or past experiences. Denis Smith has help guide and reinforced in me that there is a freedom in creating work completely for yourself.