I first met Todd from Todd Smith Photography when he left a lovely comment on my blog quite a while ago. Wanting to know who this great sounding fellow was, I checked out his photography website, browsed his blog, and was impressed enough to immediately subscribe and sign up for his newsletter.
And, I'm now very pleased to see that Todd has opened up a magnificent Etsy store! Congratulations Todd! It's brimming with his heartfelt photographs, stunning cards, and wonderful calendars. Whilst it's early days yet, I'm positive Todd's astounding talent will be gracing the walls and filling the hearts of many customers from now on.
This extract from Todd's beautifully worded bio on Etsy gives us a taste of his creative process and motivation....
'I recognize truth and beauty by the subtle way my heart reacts.
There is a sweetness in seeing something real. A recognition.
The Upanishads of ancient India say: "That which is not sweet is not true."
A love of transcendent beauty is what inspires me to photograph...
Not merely to document, but to dive into the subtle world of seeing. Photography is meditation for me. I lived in an ashram for a number of years, and I've done a lot of meditation.
The object of meditation is to transcend the everyday, active mode of thinking and experience a more settled state of mind. As the mind settles, one experiences more joy and appreciates more subtle thought and feeling.
Like that, photography starts with the everyday objects around me.
...My job is to appreciate.
Through the process of photography, I find myself a co-creator in the beauty I experience. I like to pay attention to my quietest emotions as I work.'
Todd agreed to let me probe his innermost thoughts about life, design, and photography a little further in the following interview....
H.A.H. (Heartfire At Home): What 5 words best describe you?
Todd: Thoughtful, good listener, blissful, independent, spiritual.
H.A.H: Why does your photography mean so much to you? What is it that taking photographs achieves for you?
Todd: Photography can be like meditation for me. It is my way to slow things down. When I'm photographing, I start to pay attention to the subtle aspects of whatever it is I'm looking at. And I start to pay attention to my reactions to them.
Photography is about discovering and appreciating the world around me, and it's about discovering and appreciating the quiet ways my heart reacts.
Without photography, I might go rushing past without ever noticing.
H.A.H: If you had a Secret Room that you could decorate/design just for you, what would it look like?
Todd: My secret room is very relaxing. It is simple in its design and uplifting. The air is pure and fresh like in the mountains.
The walls are light colored, maybe a butter color or a light putty, and the space is bright with lots of window light. I like those old windows with big panes, French doors even, which open to a pleasant sitting space outside. I love to feel the passage of the sun throughout the day.
White linen drapes blow in the breeze. The floor is a light colored hardwood. Maple would be good, or a more exotic grain. I love to work barefoot, and the cool feel of the wood is soothing to me. I also would like a carpet on the floor... refined, not too plush, but delightful to look at. Again, a light colored design, with organic shapes and colors.
The walls will have photographs and artwork on them that make your heart leap for joy when you first see them: bright, fun colors, uplifting themes, nature, happy people.
Fresh, cut flowers are wonderful, as long as I don't have to change the water every day!! :)
I hear the sound of a brook somewhere nearby outside.
H.A.H: Have you gotta 'thing' for anything?
Todd: I have a thing for truth. I get excited when I see real things, real people, anything that is real down to the core. I like building materials to be natural, solid, and free of chemicals.
H.A.H: Do you have a favourite quote or any 'words of wisdom' you particularly like?
Todd: "A camera lens looks both ways, inside and out."
H.A.H: What has been your best photography related memory so far?
Todd: I was driving along a lake not too far from where I live admiring the light and deciding whether to pull over to photograph when a few drops of rain began to fall. The surface was smooth as glass, with reeds poking up through the water. The raindrops made little splashes on the water's surface.
I pulled over quickly, grabbed my camera, and took two or three shots before the rain stopped and the wind came up. I continued photographing, but really the first one or two images were the keepers.
I literally had one minute to stop the car, set up my tripod, check exposure, and compose the shot. I can still feel that elation in having captured that moment.
Thanks so much Todd for letting us into your beautiful world! I look forward to gazing at your wonderful photographs for years to come.
You can see and purchase Todd's amazing work at his own website 'Todd Smith Photography' or his brand new Etsy shop entitled Todd Smith Photo.
For delightful insights, ideas, and snippets of photographic heaven, sign up to Todd's Newsletter.
And, to get another regular fix of Todd's talent be sure to visit his blog 'Transparency'.