Over the years, NM Pics has amassed a truly stunning collection of photos from all over the Land of Enchantment. Going back and viewing all the photos is a genuine delight (emphasis on the “light”). Recently as we were looking through the archives, one name in particular kept popping up amongst the oohs and aahs: Geraint Smith. We visited Smith’s website and Facebook page and immediately felt compelled to shine yet more light on majestic northern New Mexico. When looking at Smith’s photos, one gets a true sense of humility and appreciation. It feels as if his end goal is far less about “his photos” and more about honestly representing the surroundings he has come to know and love.
Geraint was born in Stanleytown, a small coal mining community in the Rhondda Valley in South Wales. In the late 70s, Geraint made his way to California where he worked as a photojournalist in Los Angeles for many years. In 1984 he embarked on a road trip that would prove to be life changing; he traveled to northern New Mexico and was captivated by the high desert landscapes, architecture and people. In fact he was so captivated that he eventually moved to Taos where he found himself immersed in the landscape for good.
After moving to Taos, Geraint began exploring northern New Mexico beyond the well-known spots made famous by the many artists and photographers that have long flocked to the area. He started venturing off into the back roads and gaining familiarity with more secluded, quiet places. While these places certainly had sweeping vistas, it was the subtleties unique to New Mexico that inspired him to move beyond using his camera for journalism and instead using it to capture moments he and others would want to hang on a wall. “More often than not it’s the mood of a place which inspires me. I like dramatic sunsets and landscapes of course … but subtleties of color, hues and soft horizons really makes my day,” says Smith. Eventually both his back road travels and photos of New Mexico turned into more than just labors of love.
Smith now lives in San Cristobal, NM, and shows his work at The Geraint Smith Gallery of Fine Art Photography in the charming village of Arroyo Seco, NM. He describes the village as having a preserved energy of the past that people don’t expect to see anymore. Visitors to Smith’s gallery also get a sense of the past by his photos due to their pure look and feel. “People often ask if my photos were taken on film and comment on how they love the muted tones and colors in the images,” says Smith. When commenting about his editing process, he says “you don’t need to do much to the photos because the beauty is already right in front of you.”
When not at the gallery, Smith guides photography tours. Photographers from around the globe regularly benefit from his knowledge of the area and are treated to popular destinations as well as scenery that is truly off the beaten path. Smith conducts “Land of Light Personalized Photo Tours” and operates three-day “New Mexico Photo Safaris and Workshops.” He likes to keep the tours as individualized as possible, tailoring tours specifically to what visitors want to see and know. When asked about his experience as a tour guide, Smith remarks, “the finest thing is to watch people relax, feel the air on their faces and stand there in awe.”
Smith is also the author of “Rio Grande del Norte: An Intimate Portrait“, a book of landscape and nature photography focusing on the upper Rio Grande region. He is now in the process of creating a new book, which he says is less about big sunset scenery but instead has more of a quiet personal touch.
Below you can see a small sample of Geraint Smith’s photography. It might not be exactly the same as relaxing on the back roads of northern New Mexico and feeling the air on your face, standing there in awe, but thanks to Smith’s heartfelt photos, it sure is pretty damn close.
You can contact Geraint in the following ways: geraintsmith.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 505-501-4880
Article written by Corey Walker
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