Melanesia ©Aline Smithson


What is your favorite museum for photography?

By far, it’s the amazing Pier 21 in San Francisco. ( The institution has such intelligent curation and truly the most innovative and exciting installations of photography. I always leave inspired.


What helped you get through the pandemic?

A sense of humor, lots of rosé, wonderful television shows, and being busier than ever. I now find myself on zoom for sometimes up to 7 hours a day. I never see the sky any more!


What was the best book you read/viewed last year?

I’m a huge fan of Overlapse Press ( in London–Tiffany Jones of the few female publishers. You Can Call Me Nana, by Will Harris and Parallel Road  by Amani Willett were terrific, but there are so many great books.

Cig Harvey’s Blue Violet is masterful.


What are your favorite instagram feeds?

 Besides my children’s instagrams, I enjoy these …








What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

Take more chances and be fearless!


Aline Smithson is a visual artist, editor, and educator based in Los Angeles, California. She is best known for her conceptual portraiture and a practice that uses humor and pathos to explore the performative potential of photography. Growing up in the shadow of Hollywood, her work is influenced by the elevated unreal. She has exhibited widely including over 40 solo shows at a variety of international institutions and her work has been featured in publications including The New York Times, The New Yorker, and PDN.

Smithson is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Lenscratch, a daily journal on photography.  In 2012, she received the Rising Star Award through the Griffin Museum of Photography for her contributions to the photographic community and she also received the prestigious Excellence in Teaching Award from CENTER. In 2014 and 2019, Smithson’s work was selected for the Critical Mass Top 50.  In 2015, the Magenta Foundation published her first significant monograph, Self & Others: Portrait as Autobiography, and in 2016, the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum commissioned Smithson to create a series of portraits for the upcoming Faces of Our Planet Exhibition. In 2018 and 2019, her work was exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London as part of the Taylor Wessing Prize. Kris Graves Projects published her book, LOST II: Los Angeles and included her work in SOLACE and On Death. Peanut Press released her monograph, Fugue State, in Fall of 2021. In 2022, Smithson was recognized as a Hasselblad Heroine.


Nancy McCrary

Nancy is the Publisher and Founding Editor of South x Southeast photomagazine. She is also the Director of South x Southeast Workshops, and Director of South x Southeast Photogallery. She resides on her farm in Georgia with 4 hounds where she shoots only pictures.

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