Book of the Week ~ Note no. 7

Self & Others by Aline Smithson

Cover of Aline Smithson, Self & Others (Magenta, 2015) from publisher’s website

This note (on time, more or less as promised [it’s not Thursday morning], and in sequence, though there are five posts between this and no. 1 yet to be posted) is dedicated to Aline Smithson. Aline has been one of the brightest lights of the virtual photography world; her blog Lenscratch has almost single-handedly fleshed out the notion of a fully featured internet magazine. Reviewing her indices of scores, or hundreds, of photographers, it becomes apparent that every one of the articles, interviews, profiles, etc. appeared on her site. Created and written for Lenscratch. That is a lot of original content. Not to mention all the listings and related professional information she has shared.

What started on November 1, 2007 with a personal reflection on Halloween (see the post here) has evolved into a “fine art photography daily,” as Aline calls it. Others—Source Review,, Rangefinder, InStyle Magazine—have gone further, lauding Lenscratch as one of the ten photo-related blogs you should be reading. In other words, get reading. And you’ve got a lot of catching up to do. (As do I!)

Aline did not, however, come to photography as an editor/blogger. She’s got a lot of skills as a photographic artist. Her 2015 book Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography traces a line of self-awareness, and evokes a spiritual transubstantiation that occurs in the work. It is possible that Aline is the perfect 21st century photographic medium, recognizing intrigue and essence in others while trusting her intuitions about all things photographic.

The portfolios in Self & Others are simply arranged and beautifully encapsulated by Smithson’s articulate notes. There are the black and white photographs, the hand-painted photographs, and the colour (Canadian publisher) photographs. Within each there are sub-groupings, and each shimmers with intelligence and sensitivity to the act of exchange represented by the photographic portrait.

If you don’t have time to read through the Lenscratch archives, you at least owe yourself a perusal of Self & Others. The Smithson esthetic comes through in both.


Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography

Photographs by Aline Smithson

Texts: Foreword by Paula Tognarelli; “Portrait Story” introduction by Karen Sinsheimer; portfolio headings and afterword by the photographer

Design: The Office of Gilbert Li

Published by The Magenta Foundation, 2015

ISBN 978-1-926856-06-3

Acquired from publisher’s press agent

Link to book on Smithson’s web site (I hate to tell you this, but the trade edition is sold out. Check ABE Books and Amazon.)

Link to Lenscratch

Leave a Reply