As a musician and a photographer, Zack Smith combines two passions for his exhibition, One Food in the Swamp: Portraits and Daydreams as Photographs, a collection of 16 photographs of local artists, musicians, actors and dancers, along with some personal favorites from the last 14 years.
Smith calls his work “collective collaborations.” The Rotary Downs drummer went from simply observing and documenting fellow musicians in clubs and on the streets to become a director of sorts, using the city and its environs as his stage and studio, simultaneously helping other musicians with press shots and publicity, while nabbing “back stage” photos for himself, for an alternate view, a personal take.
Regarding his portrait of Ben Jaffe taken in Holy Cross in 2008, Smith tells this story:
“Ben had asked me to help him produce some new press photography for the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and he had some ideas on a location and theme. We met about an hour before sunrise to set up, and he brought a beautiful artist’s rendering of the back wall of the Hall, painted on thick muslin. After I had set up the modest buffet of grits, bacon, eggs and coffee for the band, soon to arrive, I looked over at Ben as he was meticulously arranging the chairs and microphone. It dawned on me then; the care and planning he takes to present this band’s image and its music to the world, and thusly, the city of New Orleans to the world.”
Zack Smith’s work is on view at Scott Edwards Gallery (2109 Decatur St.) through August 2.