Photographer Interview: Neil John Smith

As you'll read, photographer Neil John Smith is a man of few words. He's succinct and to the point, yet his is still an inspiring life story.

In his photographs, Neil's ability to capture the raw personality and trust of his subjects is undeniable.

Become a fan of Neil John Smith on Facebook, follow him on Twitter at @johnsmth and view his most recent work on Flickr.

D&B: Where are you from?
NJS: Cape Town, South Africa

D&B: What kind of photography do you shoot and how did you get started - any "formal" training?
NJS: I shoot portraits, food, some fashion and pack shots. I also do landscape in my spare time. My formal training was in London and working as an assistant photographer.

D&B: What cameras or techniques do you use?
NJS: I use Canon (digital) and very seldom use my film camera which is an Olympus OM1 (one of my faves:)

D&B: Who are your mentors (in photography)?
NJS: Jill Greenberg. Erwin Olaf. Marc Langrange. Rankin. Phil Cook.

D&B: Have you experienced any setbacks or different treatment along your photography career that you would attribute to being a photographer of color? (this question is optional)
NJS: The colour of my skin as a black South African was a slight set back simply because I was not culturally enriched in the arts at a young age. I had to live in London to achieve the knowledge and enthusiasm.

D&B: When did you realize you could have a career in photography? Describe your journey towards becoming a working photographer.
NJS: I worked as a graphic designer for a photographer and found myself assisting him on shoots and spending more and more time in the studio. I moved to London in 1999 to be a freelance designer and decided to study photography.

D&B: What do you hope to achieve with your photography?

NJS: Fame & Fortune

D&B: What's your dream photography project?
NJS: To do some work with Rankin.

D&B: What's the biggest (life) lesson you've learned through photography?

NJS: The creativity is there. You got to dig deep.

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