James is a wonderful photographer. He will often develop a love affair with a specific place and document it over many years. He frequently works with pinhole cameras, some of which he designs and fabricates based on the particular site. His recent work more closely resembles the example I showed here, but this series in Kenmore Square from way back in 2005 (when our romance was budding) remains a favorite of mine.
One of the things I love about these images is how chaotic and accidental they appear. At first glance each one just looks like random multiple exposures or a graphic pattern... but they are the result of meticulous study, planning, and intention.
Dozens of cameras were constructed for this site; each one refined again and again to collapse or invert particular moments of this place. I am in awe of the patience and organization this process requires. Every angle of each camera carefully drafted, every exposure and sun condition recorded... there are literally thick books filled with this detailed documentation.
It's intense! But all of this methodical coordination somehow adds up to images that are so loose and messy and describe the layering, light, and confusion of the city with a subtlety that I could never articulate.
I am so enamored with these photographs. Some of the more abstract images I want to make into textiles or paper my walls with them... someday!
It's fantastic luck that I ended up sharing my life with someone who matches my own curiosity and passion to create, yet who's process is so different from my own. I procrastinate until I am hit with inspiration in the middle of the night and then stay up until dawn while he rises early and showers before sitting at a desk.
We sometimes drive each other nuts; he wrings his hands at my messy pile of notes and sketches and I roll my eyes at his tidy row of binders. More often though, we motivate and compliment one another. All we need now is more time in the day to actually tackle a project or two.
*all photographs by James M. Smith, 2005