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With his staunch New England work ethic, affection for America, and a simple camera kit, Francis Smith hit the road in a tiny campervan in 2015, and—while racking up 75,000 miles on the odometer—he’s been documenting American life in our places called Columbia, a nickname of old for the United States.
While traveling to some 50 locales in 33 states, he’s supported himself through editorial photography. Since 2003 Francis Smith has been contributing photographer for four magazines—American Art Collector, American Fine Art, Western Art Collector, and Native American Art—covering a wide range of our nation’s visual media. He photographs the homes of art collectors all around the United States, and his work is seen by well over 100,000 arts-interested people every month.
With his Columbia project, he derives inspiration by photographing Americans from all walks of life. He never takes a photographic subject’s trust and generosity for granted. In turn, he’s gladdened when a subject says that Smith’s can-do American spirit inspires them to consider pursuing their own particular ambitions.
Growing up in Westport, Connecticut—then a thriving arts colony—Smith learned how creativity finds expression. And it is with gratitude (and pride) that he employs his Vassar College art history degree every day in his life and career.
Before hitting the road, Smith raised over $14,000 through a crowdfunding campaign, and while traveling he has secured local press and radio coverage in Connecticut, Florida, and Iowa. Years of study about Columbia has made him an expert, and he never tires of sharing his knowledge of the name and its importance in America’s cultural history.