Straight Shooter

From rock gods to homeless shoe-shiners, Paul Smith’s photographic exhibition will make you stop and think about the small corner of the of the world we inhabit and why we don’t do more to change it.

by @JohnCaruso on Friday, 11 Dec, 2015

Every Sunday over 52 weeks photographer Paul Smith shared a portrait he had photographed with the goal of unearthing the untold story of its subject.

Welcome to The Sunday Portrait Project, an exhibit that will be held at The J Theatre from December to January 2016.

Paul, a renowned music photographer, has spent many years aiming his lenses at artists like Pearl Jam, Pink and BB King. His photos have appeared inRolling Stone and publications across the globe, however there was a deep desire to rediscover his love of photography by taking on a project for himself instead of simply pleasing clients.

“I really loved just having fun with photography again, being able to indulge my artistic whims and push myself in different ways,” says Paul. “I’ve enjoyed the story-telling aspect of the project, and the opportunity to meet the personalities involved, from international stars to the homeless.”

The exhibiton will take you on a weekly visual journey of the subjects he’s photographed from high profile musicians and celebrities through to everyday people he met on the street.

The year-long project features 52 portraits and personalities including musical legend James Brown, singer Florence Welch, TV chef Pete Evans, Olympian Ian Thorpe, musician Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, ex-Iron-Man Darren Mercer, a heavily tattooed Maori gentleman and a homeless shoe-shiner from Sydney, Brian.

The short commentaries with each shot and sometimes the photograph itself have resulted in controversy, mixed opinions and debate on social media where Paul has shared his work.

...I really loved just having fun with photography again, being able to indulge my artistic whims, and push myself in different ways..

Week 22’s 'Untitled' photo of a seemingly bloodstained child pointing a gun at the camera sparked a heated online feud between strangers from around the globe about violence in children’s television and video games.

“I don't understand why a deadly weapon used to intimidate and kill should be promoted as a plaything,” he said.

“I just wanted to make people think, and to be honest, I think many of the responses the photo provoked perfectly highlighted the hypocrisy of people who are happy to let their kids playCall of Duty, but freak out when they see a boy with a toy gun and a bit of lipstick on his shirt.”

If you’d like to be simultaneously entertained and challenged, then this thought-provoking photographic exhibition will be worth marking on your calendar.

The Sunday Portrait Project will be on exhibition at The J, 60 Noosa Drive from 5 December until 31 January 2016.

Read more articles by @JohnCaruso

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