Adam Smith graduated from the University of Mississippi 1999 with a degree in business and a passion for photography. Time spent in Mississippi provided Smith with unique opportunities to document the landscape and music of the state, most notably the Delta Blues and the indelible culture it’s left in its wake. This fertile environment enabled Smith to photograph and bare witness to several blues legends, Junior Kimbrough, RL Burnside, and T Model Ford to rattle off a few brow raisers. His images ultimately captured the interest of world renowned photographer Annie Leibovitz who needed assistance on a shoot in the Mississippi Delta. Smith was personally requested for his knowledge of the region and his relationships with the local bluesmen and the region’s famous juke joints. Smith’s pleasure doubled when asked to assist for Leibovitz yet again in 2010, featuring actress Gabourey Sidibe from the feature film “Precious” for a promotional spread in Vanity Fair Magazine.
Smith relocated to Atlanta where he managed the Department of Photography at the Atlanta College of Art while also pursuing a career in freelance photography. This brought the honor of working with country music legend, Marty Stuart, to shoot for his Grammy nominated album, Ghost Train, in Nashville's famed RCA/Victor studio B. In 2008 Smith was selected Photographer of the Year by the 11th Hour in Macon, GA. His work has appeared in galleries in Oxford, Mississippi, Atlanta, Georgia and Macon, Georgia. His photographs have been chosen for permanent display at the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. Smith's “I Fell Down On My Knees” image was chosen to be used on Alan Greenberg's, Robert Johnson book, Love In Vain in 2012. The book’s foreword penned by Martin Scorsese.Another image of his appears on the album cover of Junior Kimbrough’s stellar Meet Me In The City record.
Smith is a true artist behind the lens. An eye for capturing the note before it’s left the instrument, action shots freezing time for that one image that captures the sweat, smoke, light, smell, and raw energy of the moment-- the epitome being an image that provokes emotion sans sound, smell, or even presence. Smith’s polished natural talent has earned him a featured interview and article at No Depression and a spot on the radio show, “Tales From the South: The Tin Roof Series” ,out of Little Rock, Arkansas later picked up by NPR and syndicated. Smith’s book, Mornin’ Ain’t Come Yet: A Look into the Music and Landscape of the Deep South will feature a thorough look into his photography career that has spanned more than 15 years, with undoubtedly many more to go.
Words: Scott Zuppardo
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