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Edwin Smith (1912-1971), Photographer, writer and painter

Sitter in 2 portraits
Artist of 1 portrait
Born in Camden, the son of a carpenter, Smith attended the Northern Polytechnic to learn building crafts. Inspired by the publication in 1927 of Eugène Atget's views of Paris in Architectural Review, he was given a camera by the designer Enid Marx. The painter Paul Nash encouraged his photography and Smith began a career photographing fairgrounds, circuses, miners and dockers. His work first appeared in Modern Photography in 1936. He became the most distinguished architectural photographer of his generation. His 80,000 negatives, prints and photographic effects are now lodged with the British Architectural Library.

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Edwin Smith

by Olive Muriel Cook
oil on board, circa 1954
On display in Room 31 at the National Portrait Gallery
NPG 6657


Edwin Smith

by Howard Coster
print, 1955
NPG x2370