Sunday, July 10, 2011
D. Darian- Smith
D. Darian-Smith was a South Australian photographer (1900-1984). From what i can gather, he was very very good at what he did. I came across him in my research of the Capri Theatre in Adelaide, Smith was the first photographer to document the theatre and the only one to do it well! The top four images above are of the Capri in 1941 when it first opened(bottom two- Theatre at Glenelg and a aerial shot of Adelaide), my favorite shot is the inside of the cinema, showing the screen and the seats. Every shot is bathed in beautiful light, which is very hard to achieve in the pokey theatre, he was clearly very skilled and precise in his work.
Darian-Smith's life collection is owned by Atkins Technicolour-1000s of negatives, glass plate and all- and they have made a web site where the images can be brought in different sizes, all money going towards the upkeep of the collection. The web site is very disappointing as the images are only shown quite small and when viewed larger there is a giant copyright C across them, and the quality isn't very good at all. These where the only 6 good quality images i could find on the internet of his work.
Darian-Smith photographed everything, from cinemas to proposed air field sites to images for home and garden magazines and (my favorite) he also did aerial photography. From what i can see his aerial shots are amazing, in their composition as well as the way they were taken. Darian-Smith would stand on the wing of the airplane and set up his camera (LARGE FORMAT GLASS PLATE CAMERA, THAT IS), with a leather strap around his waist he wouls set up and take his photographs, whilst giving hand signals to the pilot . It is amazing he got anything at all in focus and didn't DIE at the same time!
I have so much respect for this man as he has done so many things that i want to do myself. Id love to use glass plate, do aerial photography, document theatres and do it all with such beauty! i love that he worked and lived in South Australia, i want to find out more about local Australian photographers, rather than European and American ones all the time. I recently ventured to a small town in the Kimberly (Derby) and went to their library and looked through their collection of photographs. There were amazing images of Indigenous people going about their everyday life before the town was built, as well as documentation of the town over the years. It was really amazing to see these photographs and i would have like to have known who the photographers were. I think there is a real art from that comes from documentary photography, especially when it is documenting really mundane things, like the construction of a road or a building.
D. Darian-Smith seems to be a very interesting person and a superb photographer. I would really love to go down to Atkins and get my hand on the original glass plate negatives that he took...
I want to find more local photographers..I want to be just as good as them all..i wish i could stand on the wing of an airplane and take pictures on my box brownie..I wish i could have met Douglas and got some tips from him..he is a big Enemy of mine.