I would rather die of passion than of boredom.
— Vincent Van Gogh

Have you ever been so passionate in a subject that you can't read enough books, watch enough videos or are constantly searching for the latest information regarding the topic?

For over 40 years I have been gripped with the passion of capturing light with a camera. On this journey, I have tried my hand at many genres such as weddings, landscape, street, and social documentary.

Over this time I have mastered the technical aspect of capture, process and printing and have been recognized both in Australia by the Australian Institute of Professional Photographers (AIPP) and in international photographic competitions. Always looking to do better, I then pursued academic study through a Bachelor of Arts (Visual Communication) with the sole purpose of exploring other genres, creativity and storytelling.

Through my studies I have discovered my love for portraiture.  As the renowned American portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz (b. 1949) once said "In a portrait, you have room to have a point of view and to be conceptual with a picture. The image may not be literally what's going on, but its representative". Herein lies the challenge for me in portrait photography. To be representative, and at the same time add a conceptual element that will give a deeper insight to person whose portrait has just been taken.

To truly master an area of interest, I truly relate to the words of American Expressionist Artist LeRoy Neiman (1921-2012) when he said "I have always said to young artists that scholastic training and the study of art history are crucial to fully develop as an artist".

Taking LeRoy's advice, I have spent a significant period of time researching artists and analysing their images from 3100 BC to the present, looking at all the major artistic periods to better understand the significance and details of each periods characteristics.

With this knowledge, inspiration and skills as a photographic artist I have interpreted historical portraits to produce a series of images that walk you through a brief history of portraiture.

I wish you well with your passions and hope that you enjoy the portraits I have created.

Peter L. Smith


July 2017

Below, a short video of the book created with the images below.