Close Encounters

The photographs in the Close Encounters show at pinkcomma gallery (which were also shown in 2008 in Los Angeles, and in 2012 in Florence, Italy) are abstractions of signage and architectural details on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles; they were created by Corbin Smith as he worked to come to terms with the disturbing visual chaos he found when he moved to live in Los Angeles in 2000.

Corbin used his first camera when he was 13 on an extended visit to New York City. When he was 18 and a student at Stanford’s program in Florence, Italy, his photographic eye really developed under the guidance of Matt Kahn, a Stanford Professor of Art, who encouraged his students to seek out beauty by creating photographs of less obvious subjects and to make the images personal and special. As an example, Matt showed students a photograph of a gothic rose window in a cathedral, except that it wasn’t a rose window at all: it was a manhole cover filled with confetti. Corbin uses telephoto and macro lenses to get very close to subjects, to decontextualize and abstract them, and to capture their essence. Recently, he has begun using wide-angle lenses to explore peripheral vision as his compositional structure.

Corbin Smith