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The Weather and a Place to Live: Photographs of the Suburban West
Steven B. Smith and Maria Morris Hambourg in conversation
“My favorite type of photography is documentary in style but tends to be more interesting in book form. The book confines you to a linear narrative, and that’s what I had in mind for this project. Early on, I wanted to make a larger statement about what is going on in our culture. I wanted to do it with all the great describing, and also confounding, power that photographs have. In my mind, these pictures overlap and talk to each other. The format was an important part of how the whole project came together and went forward. Exhibitions are great, but I feel like the work was created to be a book and is best served by the form. . . . Through a long sequence of pictures, that’s how I started to explore, and that’s also how I started seeing this longer, extended sequence of pictures that’s somewhere between a novel and a poem.”
A full transcript of the interview
Steven B. Smith received his BFA from Utah State University and his MFA from the Yale School of Art. He currently lives in Barrington, Rhode Island, where he is head of the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design. Smith has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship, an Aaron Siskind Fellowship for Photography, and Harvard University’s John Anson Kitteridge Fellowship, and received an Eisenstadt Award for photographs published in DoubleTake magazine. His work is held in the permanent collections of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Philadelphia Museum of Art; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; and the Yale Art Gallery, among others. Smith’s photographs have been exhibited most recently at the Museum of Modern Art; Foley Gallery, New York; Kris Graves Projects, Brooklyn; Salt Lake Art Center; University of Maine Museum of Art; and Sasha Wolf Gallery, New York. He is represented by Sasha Wolf Gallery.
Smith’s work was selected from close to three hundred entries in the second biennial CDS/Honickman First Book Prize in Photography competition. The Weather and a Place to Live: Photographs of the Suburban West was chosen by Robert Pinsky as one of 2005’s highlights in Slate magazine’s The Year in Culture.
More About Steven B. Smith