Amanda Smith & Kevin Tully
Amanda Smith & Kevin Tully (https://asmithgallery.com/) are the Directors of A Smith Gallery in Johnson City, Texas. Amanda started the gallery in 2010. Kevin came on board two years later. A Smith Gallery is a Fine Art Gallery with a portion of the gallery emphasizing alternative processes. The gallery is a champion of the creative potential of the photographic process through exhibitions and workshops. Amanda has a thirty year background as a photographer. She was an active board member of the Texas Photographic Society for fifteen years. Her work is in institutional and private collections across the country. Kevin is a photographer, designer and artist. He has over thirty-five years of experience as a landscape designer, furniture designer, fine art painter and photographer. Not happy with traditional matting and framing for her work, fifteen years ago Amanda was searching for a different way to present her photography. She discovered encaustic and subsequently traveled to R&F Handmade Paints in Kingston New York, the makers of encaustic medium and authority on the encaustic discipline, to take a workshop. Immediately thereafter Amanda eschewed traditional framing for her own pinhole work and has never looked back. Amanda introduced Kevin to the encaustic process eight years ago. With his painting background he immediately recognized the potential for hand coloring and amending the image. Amanda and Kevin have been teaching encaustic workshops for over seven years.
LACP Interviews Amanda Smith & Kevin Tully
LACP asks Amanda Smith & Kevin Tully ten questions about their background, career in and beliefs about photography
Los Angeles Center of Photography: What kind of photographer are you?
Amanda Smith: I am a fine art photographer. I became enchanted with the dark room and subsequently very enchanted with pinhole cameras and how I could achieve my artistic vision with movement and blur. Currently I shoot exclusively with my iPhone.
Kevin Tully: I primarily shoot images that I am going to amend in some form or another, either with encaustic, hand coloring or collage.
LACP: How long have you been shooting?
AS: I have been shooting for over thirty years.
KT:I started staging scenes from my own horror movies as a kid, using my sisters as my models. Shortly thereafter I put my Kodak Instamatic in a seal-a-meal bag and shot in the swimming pool. In my early twenties I bought a 35mm and set-up a darkroom in my kitchen.
LACP: Where did you get your training?
AS: My education got me a CPA designation. My camera got me happy. I have taken numerous workshops, however my friendships and associations with very accomplished photographers over the years has probably been my best training.
KT: My educational background is in architecture and art.
LACP: When did you know you wanted to devote your life to photography?
AS: When I look back now, as a CPA, wish I would have.
KT: I haven’t devoted my life to photography, but to art in general. I was drawing, etc. from an early age.
LACP: Did you ever come close to giving up?
AS: I have questioned my decision to start the gallery occasionally, but no, no regrets whatsoever.
KT: I have taken various non-art Jobs throughout the years, out of necessity, but always came back to creative work, no regrets.
LACP: Have you sacrificed anything by being a photographer?
AS: Never having made my entire living as a photographer, no. As a gallerist I guess you could say I have sacrificed much of my photography practice for the gallery. But no complaints here, it has been a labor of love and I have no regrets.
KT: No, well, the ability to simply take a drive.
LACP: What have you gained by being a photographer?
AS: : I have to say the absolute most precious things I have gained are all of the wonderful friendships and incredibly special moments through our association with the amazing global community of photographers.
KT: What Amanda said.
LACP: What classes do you teach at LACP?
AS & KT: We will teach an Encaustic class.
LACP: What do you love most about teaching?
AS: We do reviews on a monthly basis as well as hold our workshops. Working with all the sincere and engaged photographers, watching how they grow as artists, hopefully with our help, is absolutely one of the most gratifying aspects of my life.
KT: I echo what Amanda said and am especially grateful to Amanda for giving me a venue to use what I have learned over the years.
LACP: What advice would you give someone who is thinking about making a career in photography?
AS: This is a subject that gets brought up all the time directly and obliquely. I think honesty is the best policy here – have something else to fall back on until if and or when you can achieve it.
KT: I agree with Amanda. One bit of advice I would add is be clear about your objective – do you want to be a commercial photographer or a fine art photographer? They require different skill sets and lead down different paths. If one decides the fine art path I think it is very important to understand the significance of the word “art.”