Allison Smith is a talented and versatile photographer residing in Dallas, Texas. Some of Allison’s recent clients include The New York Times and Garden and Gun.

How did you get started?
I started taking photography seriously when I was 15.  I had showed an interest in photography and my parents signed me up for a Young Photographers Workshop at the Maine Photographic Workshop. My teacher, Joe Swayze changed the way I saw things.

Do you have a mentor in the field?
Photography consultant Mary Virgina Swanson has been a very good mentor and advisor.

What has been your best career decision?
Working as a staff photographer for 15 years  helped me hone my skills, understand the importance of ethics and meet a deadline  I learned how to go into a new environment and make a photo that would tell the story. You had to think and react fast. That has helped me in my life as a freelance photographer and fine art photographer.

Working as a staff photographer for 15 years  helped me hone my skills

Do you have a dream assignment?
I would love to photograph Willie Nelson on the road again.

 How do you stay motivated?
Traveling, roadtrips, seeing new places, even if it’s a new neighborhood it inspires me . I keep a visual journal and add to it weekly.

What was your first big break?
When I was 15, my neighbors house caught on fire. I was first on the scene. Dallas Morning News sr. staff photographer Richard Michael Pruitt arrived and the fire was out. He took my film with him back to the paper. The next day my photo was in the metro section and I was paid $50 for my work. From then on , I knew it was what I wanted to do.

How did you establish your personal vision? was there one project that gave you that “ah ha” moment, where you knew this is where you wanted to take your work?
I am constantly working on personal vision. I hope to continue to grow and I am constantly practicing loosening things up. I shoot with a Lomo and other camera formats in addition to the digital Canon work and Hasselblad that I shoot. I also enjoy shooting with my iPhone, It  has been a great daily record for me. I will continue to practice and refine my photographic voice.

I am constantly working on personal vision.

Do you have any favorite photo books?
I love collecting photography books.My latest favorite is Vivian Maier: Street Photographer. I also love all Lee Friedlander, Stephen Shore, and William Eggleston’s books. Ralph Eugene Meatyard,Danny Lyon, Cindy Sherman, and Duane Michals have also inspired me for a long time and continue to.

What was the most helpful part of your ‘education’ that wasn’t photo related?
Studying a second language.

Who are you inspired by?
I’m inspired by Paul McCartney, Heath Ceramics, Alex Katz,  Laura Wilson, Cindy Sherman, Bill Cunningham, Charles and Ray Eames, my grandparents

How do you define ‘success’ in your own career?
Being hired to shoot for your style.

What’s next? Any exciting projects coming up in 2012?
I have had such an exciting year so far. I have shot an installation of 3 Wee Homes on a ranch in Albany, Texas, Pentagram hired me to shoot photographs of student life at University of Southern California for their new look book, Paris Fashion Week and a portrait of southwestern chef Dean Fearing. For Garden & Gun.  I am in a show at the TCU Galleries in Fort Worth, Texas and having upcoming shows this fall in Marfa, Texas.

Favorite bbq?

Favorite breakfast taco?
Wholefoods Lakewood has a tasty breakfast taco.

Favorite libation?
Victoria Beer in a small cold glass

Do you collect anything?
Photography books

Any hobbies outside of photography?
Keeping it Simple.

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