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Check out Aline Smithson’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aline Smithson.

Aline, we’d love to hear your story and how you got to where you are today both personally and as an artist.
I grew up in Silverlake, always with a pencil or paintbrush in hand. I attended art school and fell in love with oil painting and after graduation, moved to New York City to be the next Diebenkorn. But life took me in a different direction and I found myself working in fashion. I was the fashion editor of Vogue Patterns and Vogue Knitting magazines for a decade, working with amazing photographers like Mario Testino, Patrick Demarchelier, and even Horst.

I moved back to Los Angeles after the birth of my daughter and while continuing to paint, I began to take photographs. It wasn’t until I found my uncle’s twin lens Rolleiflex that my art making completely shifted to photography. My father and uncle had been photographers, I worked with incredible fashion photographers, and I finally saw the path to being a photographic artist. I began to use the camera as a tool to make art.

That was 20 years ago, and I am still excited every time I put a roll of film in my camera. I still only shoot film, with a variety of medium format cameras. I founded a photography journal and have written about a different photographer every day for the last 10 years, as a way to understand the world I am participating in. It’s a labor of love… but isn’t everything good in the world.

We’d love to hear more about your art. What do you do you do and why and what do you hope others will take away from your work?
As an artist, I try to look for or create moments that are at once familiar, yet unexpected. I have been greatly influenced by the Japanese concept of celebrating a singular object. I tend to isolate subject matter and look for complexity in simple images, providing an opportunity for telling a story in which all is not what it appears to be. The poignancy of childhood, aging, relationships, family, and moments of introspection or contemplation continue to draw my interest. I want to create pictures that evoke a universal memory–sometimes with humor and sometimes with emotion.

I work in all kinds of genres: portraiture, conceptual, landscape, person, but am always drawn to creating portraits. I love looking for the authenticity of my subjects. I work with four cameras: a twin lens Rolleiflex, a Hasselblad, the Diana plastic camera, and the Holga plastic camera. The first two provide clarity and formality; the latter two provide spontaneity and simplicity. All are characteristics I would apply to myself.

Do current events, local or global, affect your work and what you are focused on?
The focus of photography has indeed changed. Photographers need a deeper articulation and more profound subject matter if they are going to catch the eyes of curators and editors. Simply making lovely work isn’t enough, though we do need the soothing effects of beautiful images. We are living in a time where it’s critical to create change through art. This shift has made me reevaluate my own work and consider how I can create photographic art that speaks to larger issues and find new ways to engage the viewer to think more critically about the world.

Do you have any events or exhibitions coming up? Where would one go to see more of your work? How can people support you and your artwork?
It is not easy being an artist and the best way to support them is to buy their work. Ok, I’ll just say it, please buy my work!

I have a number of galleries listed on my website. I’m most excited about a commission from the Smithsonian Art and Space Museum to make photographs of people in my region. I have been photographing all the immigrants in my life and they will eventually be on exhibition at the museum and in a traveling show.

I currently have work in California Rising, at The Fabik Gallery, Culver City, CA, at the Baldwin Photographic Gallery at the Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), at the B Complex Gallery, Atlanta, GA, work in the ATL Show at the Atlanta Airport, work in the upcoming Portrait show at the Center of Fine Art Photography, work in the Portrait Exhibition at the Los Angeles Center of Photography, and a series of images featured on The Fence presented in Brooklyn, Boston, Atlanta, Houston, Santa Fe, Durham, and Denver.

I am also happy to share my work with collectors by appointment. And I have books for sale on my site.

Contact Info:

Getting in touch: VoyageLA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.


  1. elizabeth avedon

    March 26, 2018 at 16:50

    Beautiful work from an exceptional artist and advocate for others in Photography.

  2. Wendi Schneider

    March 27, 2018 at 01:11

    Wonderful work by an extremely talented and generous artist.

  3. Elin Spring

    March 27, 2018 at 14:09

    Curious, inventive and a genius with color – I adore Aline’s photography!

  4. Barbara Ciurej

    March 30, 2018 at 18:04

    A most generous vision!

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