Jeffrey Smith

Jeffrey Smith was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago. Inspired by my early association with Robert A. Sengstacke, also known as Bobby Sengstacke, I learned that documentary photography can be much more than many people think. Bobby was a master of visual communication and I realized a photograph can create or destroy. I decided to seriously pursue a career as an artist/documentary photographer. I was awarded a four-year scholarship to study Photography at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago where I received a very valuable education to fine tune my art. Later, I went on to earn an M.F.A. in Photography from the California College of Arts and Crafts.

Artist’s Statement

As a photographer, I am dedicated to the art of documentary photography as a very personal means of communication. It translates what is seen into frozen reality – capturing people, places, sadness, despair, and happiness into moments in time.

Documentary photography expresses the deeper story in one image or a series of images. These visual stories are a powerful vehicle for social commentary telling about the human condition and the world we all live in. So many of us chose not to see outside our social circle. It is my obligation to connect us to ways of life outside our own. Documentary photography takes people on journeys beyond the familiar to foster social consciousness.

I am true to the silver gelatin print process. It best conveys my respect for light and composition and commitment to visual communication. It is my chosen process because it is the only way to produce true photographic fine art.