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Check out Hallo Smith’s Artwork

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hallo Smith.

Hallo, 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 a small military town in Texas. When I was a kid I was always interested in aesthetics from Tim Burton movies, to Hype Williams videos, to pages of magazines like Source and XXL. I wanted to be a part of creating and living in those types of environments, but I had no portfolio to get started and no connections to photographers or agencies. As a teenager, I put some thought into it and decided to buy a camera and shoot my own portfolio. That’s how I first found an interest in shooting. I decided that I wanted to live in a city that would nurture creativity, so I moved to LA. Once I got to the city I found myself blowing thru my savings on rent and had to find a job just to afford the cost of living. I wasn’t doing any of the things I had moved to LA to do. I started shooting portraits of myself and posting them to social media just to have a platform to showcase creativity.

That eventually gained some traction with followers who began to ask me to shoot them after seeing my self-portraits. I started testing, saved up for a quality portrait lens, and just continued to invest my time into teaching myself how to shoot manually and how to retouch. After about a year into that it became full-time for me. The thing I love is that the journey hasn’t been by anyone’s book and the learning is endless. I’m always able to find new inspiration and tap into a new way of experimenting and expressing myself with photography. It hasn’t been the easiest thing in life to live as an artist in LA, but it’s the happiest thing I’ve done.

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?
I mainly focus on portraits. Connecting with the person in front of me, with as few distractions as possible, is the most important thing to me during a shoot. I want to find moments that speak to me and transmute them with my camera. When I edit images I’m not looking for what’s perfect or textbook; I’m searching for a feeling. Sometimes that’s not the image people want to see of themselves, but that’s not the point. The point is to feel something. That’s what I want people to take away from viewing my work

Have things improved for artists? What should cities do to empower artists?
That’s so two-sided haha. Social media gave me a venue to become the artist people view me as, but it also comes with cons. Most of my clients have found me via social media. One of the biggest challenges has been to sift thru what inquiries are serious or not when being contacted about shooting. I’d say the majority of people don’t think deeply about the livelihood of artists. I get inquiries for free work, sometimes disguised as the “c word” (collaboration).

There are so many unseen hours that go into producing my images: preparation, transferring, converting, editing, retouching, optimizing for particular platforms, etc. Some people think that showing up to stand in front of a camera and tagging the photographer in an image on social media is what a collaboration is. As artists, we have to constantly remind ourselves of the value in what we do. I’d love to have more opportunity to showcase my work publicly in LA, or to be part of a local network that connects artists with other artists, magazines, agencies, etc.

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?
Instagram @hallosmithphotography or @hallosmith (personal page) or hallosmithphotography.com

Contact Info:

  • Address: ShootWithHallo@gmail.com
  • Website: Hallosmithphotography.com
  • Instagram: @hallosmithphotography

Image Credit:
Hallo Smith

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