Allison V. Smith: Texas Schools
Tell us a little about the project. This series of Texas schools started when a collector of my work who is also a board member at the Booker T. Washington Arts Magnet School in Dallas contacted me to tell me that the school would be empty for a few days before the new construction started. I explored the spaces of the empty school with my Hasselblad. The basic lines and colors drew me in. They enabled me to construct simple images of a space that many are familiar— that evoke a variety of emotions.
Your approach is completely different: very architectural and formally composed. It lacks the nostalgia associated with old schoolhouse photographs. Why were you drawn to the schools? The light in the older schools is what attracted me the most. Combine that with the rich chalkboards and institutional colors, it kept me intrigued.
There’s a fair amount of decay in the photos. Is this a reflection of your thoughts on the state of education? Not so much. I actually think the decay is beautiful and adds mystery and intrigue.
Allison V. Smith is a photographer based in Dallas, Texas. Smith shoots for a wide range of clients including newspapers, magazines, bands, advertisers, and families. When not on assignment, Smith pursues personal work with her Hasselblad. Her work can be found in private and public collections, including the Dallas Museum of Art and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. Smith also photo-edited and co-published with her mother, Jerrie Marcus Smith, Reflection of a Man: The photographs of Stanley Marcus (University of Texas Press, 2007).