On today’s episode, W. Scott Olsen talks to Lynn Smith, an Australian street photographer and tutor.
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My name is Lynn Smith. I hold two master’s degrees: A master of Documentary Photography (by coursework) and a Master of Fine Arts (by research). My preoccupation over the past two decades has been making images on the streets of big cities. I do some day shooting, but I have to say I prefer night photography, partly because of the moody situations you can stumble upon. And also because the shopkeepers/restaurant managers/office security personnel who sometimes insist on knowing why you’re photographing their premises (unless it is a government building, I don’t have to give reasons as I’m in a public place) have mostly finished work and gone home for the day.
I shoot mainly in Sydney and Melbourne but also in the Illawarra and Newcastle regions of NSW. I travel overseas when I can; I have made images in London, Paris, Berlin, and Jakarta.
For me, the city is an infinite source of joy. I don’t go out with an agenda thinking I’ll shoot this subject or that. I just wander the streets and laneways aimlessly… allowing the paradoxes which abound to seduce me.
If the look of an object (or group of objects) moves me, I don’t try and figure out what it/they mean. It is enough just to be alive with a camera in my hands.
The city’s objects are used by all of us, and they’re designed, paid for, built, modified, damaged, destroyed, and rebuilt by people. They’re mirrors that reflect who we are as members of society – not directly like a conventional mirror does, but indirectly as if refracted through a prism.
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