BA in English Literature and Religious Studies, University of Virginia, USA
Master of Divinity, Yale Divinity School, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut, USA
Rodney Smith (1947-2016) graduated from the University of Virginia in 1970 and earned a Master of Divinity in Theology from Yale University in 1973. While at Yale, he studied photography under photographer, Walker Evans. His mentors were Cartier-Bresson, Kertész, W. Eugene Smith, Margaret Bourke-White, Dorothea Lange, Irving Penn.
Photography was not the first career choice for Smith whose father was President of Anne Klein, and much of family life revolved around the fashion world. But for many years, Smith resented and rejected all that the fashion industry stood for, and instead philosophised about existential questions which led to his pursuit of a Masters in Theological at Yale. It was around this time there that he took notice of photography and found that it allowed him to “transfer [his] feelings onto a two-dimensional piece of paper”. However since the early 90s, he has allowed the fashion world back into his life as he accepted commission after commission from industry stalwarts like Bergdorf Goodman, Neiman Marcus, Ralph Lauren, Ellen Tracy amongst others.
Apart from the fashion industry, Smith has also been invited for numerous major commercial assignments including American Express, The New York Times Magazine, W Magazine, Departures Magazine. His images were used on the covers of TIME Magazine’s ‘Where the Jobs Are’ (17 January 2011) and ‘Rethinking Heaven’ issues (16 April 2012) and is a regular contributor to Vanity Fair. His work has been exhibited internationally and has won over 75 awards. In 2010, Rodney Smith released, The End, an immaculately design and executed, limited edition publication celebrating his 40 years in photography.