video

Why You Should Watch "Make" This Weekend

I feel that I should give a warning before you dive into this blog post. It contains a lot of links to other websites where you will likely spend a good deal of time watching, looking and listening to great art. If you're at work, you may want to wait to read this until you're on break.


I recently stumbled upon a documentary on Vimeo On Demand called “Make” and have been thinking about it ever since. The film is expertly produced and well shot. It’s a beautiful film that tells the stories of multiple artists and really reminded me of why I do what I do. 

I’ve been in the photo industry long enough that sometimes I forget why I got into photography. This is my job. Sometimes I love it, and sometimes it’s just a job. One truth that continues to hold up no matter what my day is like, is that I get to make things on a daily basis and that makes me happy. Sometimes I get to make pictures that I want to make. Most of the time I get to make pictures that other people want me to make. Other times I get to make my own rules and that feels pretty good too. Regardless, I feel blessed to have the opportunity to make photographs for a living and I try to remind myself periodically not to take it for granted. 

When I watched “Make” I was reminded of the drive that creators have to make things. Artists are compelled to bring new things into the world over and over again. The film features artists that I am familiar with like Miller Mobley, the band Sylvan Esso, and Elliot Rausch. Each person has something interesting to say about their lives and their art. After I researched Elliot Rausch a little more I was excited to learn that he was the director of a music video of a song that had a dramatic impact on my adolescent life, “Bro Hymn” by Pennywise. The influence of Pennywise on my younger self cannot be understated and to hear from the director of a music video of the song that defined my youth is particularly inspiring.

Just a quick warning. If you go to Elliot's website and watch "Last Minutes With Oden" you are going to cry. If you don't, then you are a heartless bastard. If you want to be inspired and moved without crying, you can do it for only $3.99 this weekend. Rent “Make” on Vimeo and enjoy this honest look into what it means to be a creator.  

American Holiday

American Holiday from Ryan Smith on Vimeo.

This past 4th of July I decided to film how I feel. It's not as hard as it sounds. Through a combination of visuals and excellent song writing I pieced together a video about family, friends and nostalgia. This video was filmed in a location that has become dear to my heart over the last 11 years. Highland Lake, a modest lake in northern Pennsylvania that I will always feel at home in.

If you like the song, check out the band Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros. It's only $10. Home has many meanings. What's it mean to you?

Creativity on a whim

This video was shot using a Canon G9 during two games of bowling last Sunday afternoon. The beauty of having easy access to inexpensive video tools is that we can now create fun stories on a whim. I didn't intend to make a video of our holiday bowling bash, but after taking a couple of shots a storyline unfolded. It's not professional quality by any means but it was a blast to make and share.

Here is the story synopsis:

On a dreary Sunday afternoon, a group of bowlers with the hopes of going pro descend upon the local bowling alley in Bainbridge, NY. There's nothing better than family, beer, fried food and bowling during the holiday season.

Music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The energy of this song seemed to fit perfectly.

Creativity on a whim

This video was shot using a Canon G9 during two games of bowling last Sunday afternoon. The beauty of having easy access to inexpensive video tools is that we can now create fun stories on a whim. I didn't intend to make a video of our holiday bowling bash, but after taking a couple of shots a storyline unfolded. It's not professional quality by any means but it was a blast to make and share.

Here is the story synopsis:

On a dreary Sunday afternoon, a group of bowlers with the hopes of going pro descend upon the local bowling alley in Bainbridge, NY. There's nothing better than family, beer, fried food and bowling during the holiday season.

Music by Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. The energy of this song seemed to fit perfectly.