The work of Langley-based photographer Skip Smith will be on display at the Oak Harbor Library for the month of September, as part of the library’s Artist of the Month initiative. The goal of the program is to display the skill of local artists, as well as make fine art accessible to the whole community.
Smith has lived on Whidbey Island for the past 20 years. He’s been a photographer for over 30 years. It wasn’t until after he retired as a biology professor that it became an “intense hobby,” he said.
Smith began taking photos to provide visual aids for his biology lectures. His father was also interested in photography and he grew up around darkrooms.
“It just kind of crept up on me,” he said of the medium.
Some work from his series titled “In Your Face Color” will be on display.
“Up until literally two years ago, I did nothing but black-and-white photography,” he explained.
When COVID-19 came along and he was stuck inside, he began experimenting more with color digital photography and photo editing.
“I started playing with old photographs and really doing wacky things with color,” he said. “It came out kind of like a 3-year-old child with finger paints.”
Smith said he broke all the rules with these pieces, which include buildings and landscapes in surreal color palettes.
Additionally, he is showing three more traditional black-and-white panoramas.
Natasha Vanderlinden is a library associate in Oak Harbor who discovered Smith’s work through a book called “Artists of Whidbey Island” by Don Wodjenski.
“I was immediately struck by Skip’s photography – the angles, contrasts, focus, lighting and subject matter all combine to create pieces of unique beauty,” Vanderlinden wrote in an email. “I am sincerely grateful to artists like Skip Smith, who enthusiastically responded and are generously sharing works of art with all of us, for free, at the library.”