Aline Smithson

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Aline Smithson
Archival pigment print from original hand-colored gelatin silver print
print size: 10×12.5 inches on 11×14 inch paper

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Prior to becoming a photographer, I was a painter of large colorist oils and at the same time was a Fashion Editor in New York. When I began taking photographs, I only worked in black and white and printed in the darkroom, allowing me ownership of my artistic process. Eventually, I wanted to return to the world of color that I explored so intensely with my paintings and decided I hand paint my photographs, revisiting an art form that was no longer in vogue. Hand Painting allowed for not only a painterly result, but the applied color added a sense of whimsy and nostalgia to the black and white prints.

This photograph was made quickly. I purchased the leopard coat, hat, and piece of fabric at a yard sale across the street. I asked my vegetarian daughter to pose for me and after two frames, she was done. I was stunned, several years later, to discover it had made the cover of PDN.

This photograph is normally only sold as a unique hand painted print, but to support CPA, I have made them available, for the first time, as Archival Pigment Prints.

Aline Smithson

Aline Smithson is a visual artist, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. Best known for her conceptual portraiture and a practice that uses humor and pathos to explore the performative potential of photography. Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood, her work is influenced by the elevated unreal. She received a BA in Art from the University of California at Santa Barbara and was accepted into the College of Creative Studies, studying under artists such as William Wegman, Allen Ruppersburg, and Charles Garabian. After a career as a New York Fashion Editor working alongside some the greats of fashion photography, Aline returned to Los Angeles and her own artistic practice.

She has exhibited widely including over 40 solo shows at institutions such as the Griffin Museum of Photography, the Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, the Shanghai, Lishui, and Pingyqo Festivals in China, The Rayko Photo Center in San Francisco, the Center of Fine Art Photography in Colorado, the Tagomago Gallery in Barcelona and Paris, and the Verve Gallery in Santa Fe. In addition, her work is held in a number of public collections and her photographs have been featured in numerous publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, PDN (cover), the PDN Photo Annual, Communication Arts Photo Annual, Eyemazing, Soura, Visura, Shots, Pozytyw, and Silvershotz magazines.

Aline is the Founder and Editor- in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography, She has been an educator at the Los Angeles Center of Photography since 2001 and her teaching spans the globe. In 2012, Aline received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community. In 2014, Aline’s work was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50 and she received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER.

In 2015, the Magenta Foundation published her first significant monograph, Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography. In 2016, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum commissioned Aline to a series of portraits for the upcoming Faces of Our Planet Exhibition. In the Fall of 2018 and again in 2019, her work was selected as a finalist in the Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize and exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London. In 2019, Kris Graves Projects commissioned her to create the book LOST II:Los Angeles that is now sold out. Her books are in the collections of the Getty Museum, the Los Angeles Contemporary Art Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, London, the Metropolitan Museum, the Guggenheim, the Museum of Modern Art, among others. With the exception of her cell phone, she only shoots film.