Photographer and Founder of Lenscratch
Aline Smithson is known for her conceptual portraiture and a practice that uses humor and pathos to explore ideas of childhood, aging, and the humanity that connects us. She received a BA from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and was accepted into the College for Creative Studies, studying under William Wegman, Allen Ruppersburg, and Charles Garabian. After a career as a New York Fashion Editor, Aline returned to Los Angeles and her own artistic practice.
Aline has exhibited widely including over 40 solo shows at institutions such as the Griffin Museum of Photography, Fort Collins Museum of Contemporary Art, 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. Her work is held in a number of public collections and featured in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, PDN, Communication Arts Photo, Eyemazing, Soura, Visura, Shots, Pozytyw, and Silvershotz magazines.
Aline is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography, and teaches at the Los Angeles Center of Photography. In 2012, Aline received the Rising Star Award from the Griffin Museum of Photography. In 2014, Aline’s work was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50 and she received the 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 up- coming Faces of Our Planet Exhibition. Her work exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery in London and is now on tour in the UK. Kris Graves Projects commissioned Aline to create LOST: Los Angeles published in April 2019. Aline is a dedicated film shooter. www.alinesmithson.com
It was a complete privilege to juror the 2019 Contemporary Portrait Exhibition for the Delta Center for the Arts at the L.H. Horton Jr. Gallery. A huge thank you to Jan Marlese for inviting me to consider my favorite genre in photography: Portraits. Thank you to all who submitted as the photographic offerings were not only totally engaging, but there was so much excellent work to consider, you made my job very, very difficult—so please know that this was not a cursory examination, but a long hard look at your work.
As a juror, I look for a level of excellence—was the photograph created as a fine art image or simply a snapshot. As the work ends up in a gallery space, the concern of quality is critical. Is the image in focus (or blurred with intention), have the dust spots been removed, is it well composed, has the photographer avoided over sharpening and over saturating? I consider if the work challenges, transports, and delights, and I also consider the show as a whole. The photograph has become ubiquitous in our culture and in order to stand out, it is necessary to push beyond the ordinary or the common tropes that have already been covered.
Congratulations to those whose work made it into the exhibition. I was thrilled to see so many unique and interesting approaches to portraiture. For those I sadly could not include, remember that all judgment in art is subjective, I am just one person’s opinion, with my own way of looking at photography. I salute your efforts in submitting and so appreciate time with your work.
— Aline Smithson