Last year at the Governors Island Art Fair, photographer Jonathan Smith received some attention for his Night and the City series— dozens of photographs documenting the solitude and artificiality of the city in the nighttime. For years, Smith, a British-born artist who found a home in New York City, worked in the studio of Joel Meyerowitz, managing the renowned photographer’s World Trade Center and Parks Department achieves, both of which have been acquired by the Museum of the City of New York. The whole time, he was working on various, ongoing projects which took him not only around the city, but from coast to coast. Meyerowitz now praises Smith’s personal work by presenting him as one of the New Stars of Photography in Smithsonian Magazine.
It’s clear when seeing Jonathan Smith’s work that achieving many of these images requires enough persistence to wander throughout the night, the dawn, and other unthinkable times. He is a traveling artist, who journeys out to find unlikely visuals and seeks the natural contrasts that break apart a picture plane into two distinct qualities. In the city, he finds the glowing light of streetlamps and empty billboards which attempts to cut through the heavy darkness. When it comes to nature, he is drawn to the coastlines of the United States, where water always comes close to overtaking land. Smith, it seems, is committed to going far out to see what there is to photograph.
Jonathan Smith is represented by Rick Wester Fine Art.