Bruce Smith began shooting as a professional fashion and portrait photographer back in 1983; the black and white ball gown image was his first fashion photography commission. Since then he has continued to produce memorable fashion images, portraits, fine art photography, celebrity portraits, art nudes and boudoir style portraiture photography. He has been commissioned by major international fashion clients to shoot high fashion, haute couture, bridal wear, lingerie, swimwear and hosiery in places around the world, including Africa, Australia, America, Alaska, Thailand, Borneo, Vietnam, Spain, France, Morocco, Austria.
In the early 2000’s, Bruce was commissioned to pen the first how-to book about digital fashion photography, Fashion Photography: A Complete Guide to the Tools and Techniques of the Trade, which has been published in the U.S., Europe, the UK and China. After this book was published, Bruce was invited to speak and teach at photography conventions, seminars and arts academies all over the world. This inspired him to start “The Bruce Smith Photography Academy” which he still runs today, offering aspiring new photographers his insights into creating beautiful images of people.
With a recent change in his own perspective on life, Bruce decided that he would move more towards photographing regular people, instead of only the preternaturally beautiful models he has photographed for the last 40 years. Bruce brings his many years of experience creating stunning fashion images to everyday people so they can experience what it feels like to be in front of the camera and feel beautiful and fabulous about themselves. Visit his fashion and fine art photography website for any commercial fashion photography enquiries. On this website link there is also information about his photography workshops, courses and 1-2-1 private photography master classes in photographing people, fashion, portraits and fine artistic nudes
Books by Bruce Smith
Have you always known you wanted to be a Photographer?
Growing up I never had the intention to become a photogrpaher. Quite frankly, I had no idea what I wanted to do when I was a teenager. I decided to study graphic design, but I was not organised enough to really enjoy it. During our studies we spent one day a week in the studio to learn photography as part of the program. It is important for a graphic arist to have at least a basic knowledge and understanding of the photographic process. I enjoyed this studio time and I started to play with different films. In the end, I used photography to make graphic images. For our final review, the school invited professionals from the industry to grade our work. One of the companies asked me to come in for an interview as a studio intern. I ended getting this internship.
I didn’t like it that much, making tea, winding up cables, brushing the floor but very little photography apart from loading 10x8 in transparency film, and fetching and carrying for two photographers.
The studio closed after about 18 months of me being there leaving me out of work, so I ended up working for two years at a supermarket initially as a shop boy, but in a short while I was promoted to store manager which meant doing the banking and bringing the shop takings to the bank. One night I was attacked by teenagers trying to steal the money. I managed to get away with the money hidden in my coat, but received a massive cut above my eye from being hit in the face with a bottle.
This told me that was not the right job for me and I made plans to go back to university to study more about photography. I opened a portrait studio at the back of my brother's hair salon and began taking wedding pictures and portraits.
One day my brother got a phone call from a hairdresser friend that was looking for somebody to take pictures of his hair dressing styles to enter the Wella Hair Competition. I of course said I would do the job. This was an amazing experience and much more fun and exciting than weddings and portraits so I started to pursue more similar work. So sort of the beginning of the long journey that brought me to where I am now.
How long have you been a photographer?
I have been a photographer now for about 45 years and found my niche 36 years ago with the hair shoot and a little later getting my first real fashion commission in 1983.
What do you remember as your first work of art?
For me it is this image; it represents my breakthough in the industry and the first time I followed my heart and found my personal style.
I was in love with the girl in the picture, but there was no way on the earth I would have asked her out. It was like a dream.
The client wanted one thing but I followed my instincts. I had only one roll of film per dress which meant eight frames that I took the way the client desired, then eight frames the way I wanted. The client fell in love with my versions of all four outfits we shot that day. This black dress image got me so much exposure; it was on billboards and in magazines. I got write ups for it. It was the beginning of the work I am [still] doing now.
How was it growing up, is your family from an artistic background?
My parents were not artistic. I grew up with my mom hating my dad and my dad hating my mom. There was not a lot of hamorny in the household. My dad was a very violent man and I spent a lot of time hiding in the attic to get away from the bad energy in the house and getting lost in my imagination. However, my mom was a singer so there was always music in the house.
As a child I was very much a loner and not very good at communicating with the world which makes it quite hard to survive. Photography became my outlet to express myself and a means to communicate, so sort of my savior as well as my career. I became very good at putting all of my own feelings and emotions into my pictures. They say you are what you photograph, and you create the ideal of how you wish life to be in your pictures.
Where do you draw your inspiration from? What motivates you to do your art? Who are your influences?
Love and devotion, the things I cannot seem to find in my real life are a constant inspiration for my work. I am looking for a beautiful line that leads to the center of emotion. The golden ratio is a magical number that everything seems to revolve around and is what I am seaching for in my composition. I am looking for it in both the physical line and in the emotion that I try to achieve in my pictures. In the process, I found a safe place to play.
Any projects lined up?
I am starting a jewelery job soon on the commercial side and continuing to create my fine art images for books. Later this year I will be teaching some fashion, portrait and nudes photography workshop near Bordeaux, France
As an artist, is there an ultimate goal / dream you would like to achieve?
I would like to put an exhibition of my images. I did a joint one a few years ago with a few other photographers, but never one on my own, so it is overdue and I think. I am ready for it.