Jonathan David Smyth
Jonathan David Smyth
Just One More
10 x 8 inches
Published by bd-studios.com
From the artist:
Since moving to New York City from the U.K. in 2012, Smyth has been photographing reflections of himself. Shot completely with his camera phone, this ongoing series of self-portraits combines issues of identity, displacement, belonging, and impermanence.
“I make photographs to prove I am here. My work is cathartic, but I want other people to relate to what I am presenting,” says Smyth. “Just One More is a work of moments; it is a visual diary of my life in New York City, and these photographs are the mappings of where I have been. The pictures already exist; I am just stepping into them.”
Featuring fifty plates accompanied with handwritten captions, this monograph also includes a critical essay by Photographic Center Northwest executive director, Michelle Dunn Marsh, and a conversation between Jonathan David Smyth and photographer Dana Stirling.
Book review by Carissa Holly Mattern |
Jonathan David Smyth takes you on a personal tour through literal reflections of himself in his series, Just One More. What begins as a feeling of familiarity of "selfies" in reflective surfaces, turns into a discovery of clever placement, design choices, and nostalgia.
With the inclusion of the date and location, viewers are able to see the difference in architectural elements surrounding Smyth from New York City to Northern Ireland.
With Smyths work, it is easy to skim over the images and think its just another millennial selfie, what makes it any different than the ones I could produce right now with my own phone? On page 47, we are met with a reflective image of Smyth in slightly cascading white to gray dots, an orange gradient, and a classically styled pale tan building decorated in Corinthian columns. Smyth is presenting us with a foreground, middle ground, and background, but also this added dimension that feels similar to an optical illusion. In the background, the Corinthian building resurrects a feeling of authority, law, order, and for me personally, accounting.
The building adjacent to it shows brick, air conditioner units, and business signs. Cars are parked behind him and a bare tree parallel to his figure. Shifting your eyes to the middle ground and the orange gradient becomes a prominent feature. The area that previously appeared to be the sidewalk is met with a single chair with a red cushion, a black electrical outlet and an orange cord, and morphs into the gray tile floor; a similar tint to the sidewalk of the background. Then in our immediate foreground we are met with the cascading white to gray dots; small to large, left to right.
This simple element brings all the others together to create a powerful image that on first glance is Just another selfie. Upon further review, each image that Smyth presents has includes this aesthetically pleasing equivalent of a tongue twister.
I'm only wishing that I could see these images off a digital screen like the medium he chose to capture the images. And could I have just one more?