Brian Smith, Artisan Of Imagery
“I’ve got the greatest job in the world. My worst days as a photographer might be the greatest days in the lives of many people.”
Pulitzer Prize-winning photographer Brian Smith is the luckiest guy on the planet. He’s told Bill Gates exactly what to do for an entire hour, appeared on The X Factor, exhibited at the Library of Congress, dined with the President, written an Amazon Best Seller, shared cupcakes with Anne Hathaway, gotten drunk with George Clooney and married the most beautiful woman he ever laid eyes on…
About / Biography
For the past 30 years, Brian Smith’s iconic portraits of famous celebrities, athletes and executives have been used in advertising, by corporations and have graced the covers and pages of hundreds of magazines including Sports Illustrated, ESPN the Magazine, Time, Forbes, New York Times Magazine, Elle and British GQ.
His first magazine photograph appeared in LIFE Magazine when Smith was a 20-year-old student at the University of Missouri. Five years later, Smith won the Pulitzer Prize for Spot News Photography for his photographs of the Los Angeles Olympic Games. He was again a finalist for the Pulitzer for his photographs of Haiti in Turmoil. His photograph of Greg Louganis hitting his head on the diving board at the Seoul Olympics won first place in both World Press Photo and the Pictures of the Year competition.
His books include: Art & Soul: Stars Unite to Celebrate and Support the Arts, photographed in partnership with The Creative Coalition and Sony, which pairs Smith’s iconic portraits of celebrities from film, television, stage and music with their personal messages about the importance of funding the arts; Secrets of Great Portrait Photography from New Riders Press shares his stories from his last 30 years photographing portraits of the famous and infamous; and Sony A7 / A7R: From Snapshots to Great Shots.
Brian Smith’s work has been exhibited at the Library of Congress, American Museum of Natural History, Aperture Gallery, Chelsea Art Museum and the W Los Angeles. He’s appeared on The X Factor, Israel Channel One and Fine Living Network. His awards include the Pulitzer Prize, American Photography, Communication Arts Photography Awards, World Press Photo, Pictures of the Year, Best of Photojournalism, One Eyeland People Photographer of the Year, American Photo magazine’s New Faces in Photography, AltPick Awards and Photo District News Awards.
He’s president of APA/Editorial Photographers and a Sony Artisan of Imagery, Lowepro Featured Photographer and X-Rite Coloratti. His work has been featured on the covers of the Photo District News and Professional Photographer and in Communication Arts, After/Capture, American Photo, Popular Photography, Digital Photo Pro, Emerging Photographer, Inside Edge, PDN and Rangefinder magazines. His photography assignments have taken him to six continents racking up four million air miles yet they have always brought Smith and his wife Fazia Ali home to Miami Beach.
B&H Photo: Secrets of Great Portrait Photography
B&H Photo: Location Portrait Photography
More Videos from Brian:
Describe the moment you knew photography changed your life
I’ve had many amazing experiences thanks to photography, but meeting my wife 23 years ago when I was in New York for PhotoPlus Expo at the top of the list. Winning a Pulitzer comes in second place.
If you could sum up your work in one word or one sentence, what would that be?
I take portraits that reveal the story of the people I photograph and share a bit of their soul with the world.
What is the most remarkable person, place or thing you have ever photographed and why?
I’ve had so many great experiences thanks to photography that it’s tough to narrow it down to one. Though it’s really hard to top flying down to Richard Branson’s private island for Time Magazine to photograph Sir Richard wearing a space suit surrounded by the water of the Caribbean on Christmas Eve.
Talk to us about your bucket list... what is on the top of that list of things to photograph?
I think more in terms of projects and bodies of work than single photographs so I’m always looking for another great project like ART & SOUL.
If you had not become a photographer, what might you be today?
Give us your thoughts about the Global Imaging Ambassadors program?
Sony Artisan of Imagery is one of the coolest gigs I’ve ever had. It’s been a great opportunity to work with both Sony engineers who design the camers and show how that technology can help photographers .
What is your favourite Sony camera of the moment?
I’m really digging the A7R these days, the resolution is really amazing - especially for such a camera that’s so small and light. Of course I’m also really looking forward to testing out the A7S in low-light.
(2) Sony a7RII
Sony FE 16-35mm F4 OSS ZA
Sony FE 24-70mm F2.8 G Master
Sony FE 35mm F1.4 ZA
Sony FE 35mm F2.8 ZA
Sony FE 55mm F1.8 ZA
Sony FE 85mm F1.4 G Master
Sony FE 90mm F1.8 G OSS Macro
Sony FE 70-200mm F4 G
Sony LA-EA3 Lens Adapter
Sony 135mm F1.8 ZA
Sony 70-400mm F4-5.6 G
Sony HLV-43M flash
(4) PocketWizard III Transcievers
(12) 64Gb Sony SDXC UHS-I Memory Cards