David Smith Exhibition

David  Smith Exhibition
A Light Hearted Look at Life

Meet David Smith
East Lansing was David’s home more than 30 years before he moved to Holt in May. He grew up on a farm in Davisburg (Oakland County), the third generation of his family that lived there. He inherited his passion for photography from his father, Lester Smith, who had a darkroom in the basement and a side business as a photographer.

David often carried his camera to school in Clarkston and also took one with him when he went to Central Michigan University to earn his bachelor's degree in psychology. Over the years, he worked as a social worker, an association executive and a grant administrator in education.

He has traveled to a number of different countries around the world and had a special interest in Haiti, where he worked with friends to establish a school in a small village. Many of the photos in the exhibit were first created as postcards which were sold in Lansing area coffee shops and art galleries. Postcard sales totalled $5,600 over a few years, with all the money going to Haiti to pay teachers at Lecole Pa Nou (“Our School” in Creole).

He has also used these postcard designs in PowerPoint presentations at senior assisted living facilities. Titled “A Light-Hearted Look at Life,” these presentations were used to generate laughter and lift the spirits of the residents.

Over the years, a number of his photos have been included in published books, both as the author’s picture (e.g. Lauren Redniss’s 2006 book “Century Girl”) and to illustrate the book’s subject (e.g. John Hatcher’s 1984 book “From the Auroral Darkness: the Life and Poetry of Robert Hayden”). Most recently, his photo of Jenny Many Beads was published in Christopher Buck’s 2015 book titled “God & Apple Pie: Religious Myths and Visions of America.”

Artist Statement
East Lansing has been my home for 30 years and photography has been my passion for more than 50 years. I inherited this from my father, Lester Smith, who had a darkroom in our basement and a side business as a photographer. Multiple aspects of this art that have fascinated me over the years.

One aspect is preserving moments in time in our constantly changing world. With the push of a button you can document children who are growing into adults, loved ones who will someday pass from this earthly life, and buildings that are part of our life but eventually deteriorate. Later, when we look at the resulting photographs, our past memories are renewed and our hearts are touched.

Another fascinating aspect is that with the camera, a practiced and disciplined eye can capture the spirit of beauty in a flower, the spirit of love in a person’s face or the spirit of history in a community event. Photographs of these captured spirits are then able to evoke a resonant spirit in the observing audience.

Yet another aspect of photography that wholeheartedly engages me is the opportunity to capture the humorous and ironic juxtaposition of elements in an image. I call this my “Signs of Confusion” theme. I can’t really explain why I see these things, but they definitely catch my attention and make me (and others!) laugh. It also lead to the creation and sale of postcards which raised thousands of dollars to support an elementary school in rural Haiti.

Opening Reception
Join us for an opening reception to meet David and talk to him about his art.

Friday, Aug. 4, 2017
Arts Council Greater Lansing
1208 Turner St. Old Town Lansing

5-7 p.m.