Kim Turner-Smith Questions

Kim Turner Smith is very patient, and this is the very least of her talents.  We have been so busy and it has taken too long to get her to the blog.  Thanks for your understanding Kim.  Kim was the Juror’s award recipient for our call for entry “Treasure.”  Roy Fulkinger was the juror.  We asked Kim a few questions.

How did you come to photography? 

As far back as I can remember I have been fascinated with photos.  I used to love looking through my grandmother’s old family albums and hearing the stories of the people in the pictures.  In middle school I had a 110 camera that I carried around taking goofy snapshots of my friends and family.  My mom would get so frustrated when we would go pick up the film from the photo lab.  She would grimace and say “this one is a reject”or “this person isn’t even looking at the camera”. During high school I got my first ‘real’ camera and took a photography class and learned to develop my own film and make silver gelatin prints. This is when my passion for photography really intensified.  I continued studying art and art history into my college years graduating from Columbia College Chicago with a concentration in photography.  My time in Chicago were some of the most impactful years growing and evolving as a person and an artist.  It was an amazing time that I’m so grateful for.

Can you tell us about your images?

 The two images in the Treasure show are from my series titled Childhood which documents day-to-day moments in the lives of my children.  I push myself to look beyond the steady routine and mundane demands of daily life and find the magic in those fleeting moments.  As I listen to my girls engage in fantasy and play, their perceptions of the world are revealed.  I am drawn to capturing the momentary tableaus that have a sense of mystery or oddity.  I hope the photos reflect the essence of play, spontaneity and wonder but still retain the authenticity of our daily life.  While this series is ultimately a tribute to my own children I’ve discovered that it’s also a documentation of my journey as a mother. As I watch their little bodies and listen to their inquisitive minds, I am reminded that parents are privileged to experience these moments.  This time will someday feel ephemeral; these are the days that I will one day want to relive.

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Does a sense of place play a part in your photography?

A sense of place plays a big role in my photography, but so does lack of place.  Not necessarily geographically, but psychologically.  Themes of family and home are common threads in much of my work, but I am also attracted to concepts of humans lost in their environment; the superficial and artificial, and breaking my everyday surroundings down to banal components out of context.  This is what I’m exploring in both seriesNavigating Circumstance and Neighborhood. 


Could you tell us more about what you are currently working on?

Lately I’ve been experimenting rather than working on a specific project.  I’m mostly shooting film with the intention of “messing it up”, light leaks, blur, cross-processed, over exposed.  The imperfections and surprises are what I love most about shooting film.  I also recently took an encaustic workshop and am enjoying the process of creating tangible photographic objects again.  I’ve been missing the craftsmanship of making darkroom prints and have always been intrigued with encaustic, so I’m excited to experiment with this.  Not sure where my work is going at the moment and I’m enjoying not having a plan.

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If you were a camera what would you be?

Definitely a film camera with expired film.  Probably a converted Polaroid 110a camera with type 59 film.



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