Five years after his unfortunate passing, photographer Rodney Smith is being celebrated once again. The masterful fashion photographer, known for his quirky and surreal imagery, is seeing 10 of his prints added to the permanent collection of the J. Paul Getty Museum. In celebration of this monumental occasion, the Rodney Smith Estate is hosting a series of curator talks over the next few months.
The first, which will take place on December 8 at 6 p.m. EST, is titled What Makes Fashion Photography Art and brings together a panel of esteemed experts. These include Paul Martineau, curator of photographs at the J. Paul Getty Museum; Etheleen Staley, founder, Staley Wise Gallery; Viktória Vámosi, international model; and Dennis Freedman, founding creative director of W Magazine. The event will take place online and is free to the public after registering.
It's a wonderful chance to learn more about photography as an art form and to gain a deeper understanding of Smith's work. The legendary photographer, Smith, who worked for fashion giants like Neiman Marcus, Bergdorf Goodman, and Ralph Lauren, is seeing a resurgence. Aside from his photographs being acquired by the Getty, several of his images are at the center of Hermès' current holiday campaign.
For the Rodney Smith Estate, which is directed by his widow Lesley Smolan, it's been rewarding to see appreciation for his work grow over time. As Smolan told Women's Wear Daily, “The challenge has always been that many people don’t recognize the pictures with his name.” But now, that's starting to change.