Aline Smithson's Ten has been getting lots of love. I thought you might like to learn a little more about the lady behind these quirky, witty images.
What initially fascinated you about paper dolls, and where did you find the ones for this project?
When I was creating my series, In Case of Rain, about things that will be obsolete in future generations, I thought about all the things that I played with as a child that have been changed by the internet and the computer. Paper dolls were part of my growing up and I wanted to include them in the series. Once I started re-collecting them, I realized I could use them to say much more. Most of the ones I now have are from eBay, or from friends who gave me their childhood collections.
This series, and most of your work, is fun and humorous. Reflection of you as a person?
Definitely. Both of my parents had great senses of humor, and my children will tell you I continued that tradition. As for my children, who are both funny, all a mother can wish for is that her children will someday appear on Saturday Night Live! There has been a lot of laughter in my life - something that can certainly come in handy as a parent. And yes, I'm always up for mischief and a martini. But I hope my work also resonates on a deeper level too... I not only see the humor in life, but the pathos and poignancy.
Why are you a photographer?
I am a visual person. I speak a visual language. I curate my life, my home, my dress, my photography because I want to express my sensibility. I've never been a great reader, but I've been a great looker (a quality that doesn't seem to garner the same respect), and being a seer has allowed me to understand the world in a profound way. I am a photographer, but I am an artist too.
Favorite camera to shoot with?
My most favorite camera (please don't mention this to my other cameras!), is my twin lense Rolleiflex. It's been in the family since the 1950s and I swear it has a soul inside of it. I also love my Hasselblad - I think it has a big heart that keeps on beating. I like old things, things with history and that have been banged around a bit. It takes me a long time to love a camera. I'm currently dating a Mamiya 7II, but we haven't gotten to second base yet. I still shoot with film, just because.
If you weren't making art, what would you be doing?
I would be a magazine editor, an actress, a clothing designer, a dog walker, someone who sits and does nothing but smoke and eat pizza in Venice, or an incredibily wealthy and snobby French gallerist, a painter, a pilot and most definitely a movie director.
F*%k it and it's always something...
Who or what inspires you?
Everything. The man sitting next to me in his car, my daughter as she describes her hilarious life in Manhattan, all movies, my photographer friends, my non-photographer friends, my son when we start laughing about something, old people, my husband's solidness, seven year olds, dogs, paintings, old houses and anything mid-century modern. Tony Duquette and Iris Apfel. Anything in miniature. People that don't take themselves too seriously, but are smart.
Any new projects you want to tell us about?
I am working on something new, but keeping it quiet as I am still figuring it all out. Sort of a new direction... I am also putting finishing touches on a children's book that I have just completed titled, The Lonesome Doll.
What would be your perfect day?
Hmmm... I always ask this in my interviews, so this is fun to answer!
I would be in Massachusetts at the lake house we go to. I would stay in bed as long as possible. Then go somewhere and get a big plate of chilaquiles with tomatillo sauce, wander down the dock, take a swim, hear laughter, smell good smells, spend hours making work that gets me really excited and happy, have dinner surrounded by family and friends, play a little poker or beer pong with my kids, and fall asleep watching Amelie or To Kill a Mockingbird or Beginners or Mad Men in a big overstuffed chair. Or maybe do it all in Paris.
Dinner Party. Ten Guests. Who do you invite?
Everyone who has died in my life that I didn't get a chance to ask all my questions to, that I didn't get to know well, or didn't get enough time with. Normally, people list celebrities or famous artists, but I have often been disappointed when I have spent time with those I have admired, so I'm not wasting a dinner with them! I never met 3 out of 4 of my grandparents, and I wish I had!
Circle of Men