I went to an art opening last week called “American Landscapes”, featuring the photography of Clinton Smith. The show is at the Highlight Gallery on Main Street in Mendocino, across the street from the Mendocino Music Festival tent. You owe it to yourself to stop in and check out some of Clinton’s latest work. Clinton, who spent some time under the tutelage of Ansel Adams, is quite simply one of the best photographers you will encounter. He’s been featured in national magazines and TV programs, and you’ll understand why when you see his work. His eye for composition is superb, and he is amazingly patient when he’s trying to get the best shot. What I really admire is that he is very deliberate about choosing his shots—he is not a proponent of the digital style of “take ten thousand variations and sort it out in Photoshop”. The time spent composing the images pays off in the stunning quality of his work.
Clinton is working at the gallery through July—I believe he said he’s there Monday-Friday between 11-12 and 4-5, so go check it out. Highlight is one of my favorite galleries in Mendocino; they have beautiful artwork for sale, and you can see the ocean from inside the gallery on Main Street.
Yes, indeed. Clinton Smith is a true craftsman of the American Landscape. His images are soaked in beautiful light, color, and perfect composition. He works a scene, coming to it for several days or even years to get the right elements to line up: The position of the sun, the temperature of the days leading up to the transition of seasons, the phases of the moon, film speed, exposure time, and the final print.
Believe it or not, these images are not photoshopped! This is something truly amazing to behold in an age when everything is manipulated with technology. No, folks, these images cannot be achieved with the aid of photoshop. Instead, it is the traditional art and science of how to expose transparency film and a good dose of patience.
Clinton Smith is the real deal when it comes to the American landscape image. And, his images are a the culmination of a lifetime spent learning about light, film, composition and the essential moment from Ansel Adams, who passed the torch onto local legend, Smith.
How I wish KY were not so far from CA so that I could view Clinton Smith’s photography first hand. His dedication to his art and talent is rare in this day and age.