‘Pound a Portrait’ Photo Studio Open

We opened the doors to the first day of photography and filming at our pop-up portrait studio at Hoe Street Central, Walthamstow, London. What an amazing day! A combination of booked appointments and a couple of walk-ins made for a busy and fun day.

One of the ambitions for the project is to find out more about our sitters.  So myself and documentary film maker Guy King have teamed up to collaborate on revealing the stories behind the portraiture process.




We’ll be revealing more about our portraits at the exhibition 23rd – 25th August, Hoe Street Central, Walthamstow.

More information www.poundaportrait.com

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I’m in love with taking photographs | Ignite Night E17

I was invited to be a speaker at ‘Ignite Night E17‘, an E17 Art Trail event that gave 11 speakers just 5 minutes to share something they are in love with.  I chose ‘taking photographs’ as this has been a major obsession for me for a very long time. But why? When did this happen? Why do I love it so much?

I think it started with this…

Boots Paula Smith

I was about 15 when I took this photograph. It was taken on a no-name brand camera with equally no-name brand 35mm film. It’s by no means an award winner, but this picture was to have a significant influence on me because I discovered that photography had the power to instantly capture a memory, a mood, an emotion.

Even today, many years later, I can look at this image and recall exactly how I was feeling. Such happy contentment, not a care in the world, floating along, the sun shining, my Walkman playing… I can even remember what I was listening to.

Fast forward a few years to when I started travelling. I knew the camera would help me to capture my adventures, the places I’ve been, the people I’ve met, the things I’ve learnt.


Taking photographs also lets me play my small bit in documenting the world around me. Many of the viewpoints in my portfolio don’t exist any more. And some images that I may have overlooked at the time are becoming more significant as time passes and you realise it recorded a little snapshot of time whether it be an event, a place or some funky fashion we will laugh at in years to come.

Walthamstow Stadium 01

But I also love taking photographs because you have the power to create your own art works. It doesn’t matter if a million other people have stood in the same spot or taken the same subject, the photograph is unique. And the sense of achievement you feel by capturing a great sunset or a quirky moment is terrific. And believe me you don’t need to go to far flung places – there are interesting things all around us.


And I’m not just talking landscapes… Taking photographs of people is an amazing experience. You have the power to document life – record families growing up, life’s celebrations, local events, the interesting characters you meet in everyday life.


As I’ve got braver and more confident I can say that photographing strangers is a rewarding experience as you instantly build a connection. You don’t even need to speak the same language. Most people just get it, photography is a universal language.

London Punk Underground worker

I wished I’d had a lot longer than 5mins because I’d have liked to have also mentioned…

Taking photos makes me

  • laugh, smile, cry, frown… and a whole lot in between
  • see the beauty in everyday details
  • tell and share a story
  • more curious about things around me
  • get creative and try something new
  • have lots of fun
  • make others happy
  • geek out with processes old and new
  • embrace my inner ‘artist’

Oh I could probably go on….

I’d love to hear from others, why do you love taking photographs? And if you’re not in love with taking photographs? WHY NOT?! There has never been a better time to embrace picture taking, go on give it a go.



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From Pittsburgh to the Poconos | E17 Art Trail Photography Exhibition

My home patch of Walthamstow in east London is in the throws of the E17 Art Trail. It’s in it’s 10th year now and some 4000 artists are participating in events and exhibitions all over. It runs between 31 May till 15 June check out the online guide here.

For my E17 Art Trail Event I’m exhibiting photography from a personal project I’ve been developing over a number of years photographing the people and places of Central Pennsylvania. Works shown will feature the industrial and agricultural heartland of this great American state and include a mix of portraits, urban and rural landscapes.




‘From Pittsburgh to the Poconos’ Photography Exhibition details are available here. And do check out the whole guide to plan your trail to make a day of it.E17 Art Trail Exhibition


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Calling aspiring documentary filmmakers and photographers


Documentary director Guy King and photographer Paula Smith are looking for enthusiastic assistants to join their production team.

The creative pair are collaborating on a short documentary film to be premiered at Walthamstow town centre’s new Empire cinema in late 2014. The production will feature local residents having their portraits taken in a pop-up photo studio/gallery, where the emerging collection of portrait photographs will be exhibited.

King and Smith are keen to take on several part-time volunteer assistants to support the project. This team will develop their filmmaking and/or photography skills under the guidance of mentors such as acclaimed local filmmakers Marc Isaacs, Mike Connolly, Lucy Kaye and Ivana MacKinnon.

Volunteer assistants will:

  • help engage with the local community, researching interesting characters to invite
  • assist in the production side helping Guy and Paula in the filming/photography process
  • develop their filmmaking & photography skills under the guidance of mentors

Candidates should have bags of enthusiasm, confidence to communicate with people and an interest to learn about filmmaking and/or photography. Previous experience may be beneficial, but not essential. Filming will take place during August.

To apply please email your CV and a letter (100-300 words) explaining why you would like to join the team to guyking5@gmail.com before 15 June 2014.

‘Tales from the Studio: Pound a Portrait’ is being created as part of The Reel Walthamstow Moving Image Commission. This project is commissioned by Waltham Forest Council and is funded by Hill Development as part of their planning contribution for their development at the Scene, Walthamstow Town Centre.

LBWF logo green transparent

hill_hor_logo_rgb_large Apr14







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Spring has sprung – E17 Art Trail News…

At the start of every year I sit down and write myself an action plan, and every year without fail I write… ‘must engage in social media’! Erm… it’s now April already and I’m feeling pretty sad that I’ve not shared more to let you know that I’m alive and well and chipping away in my little corner of East London.

So, got some interesting things in the pipeline….

After a break in 2013, the E17 Art Trail is back! It’s moved forward this year to May/June and we’ve all really looking forward to an amazing event. The programme will be out early May.

I’m preparing to show for the first time some work from an ongoing personal project photographing Pennsylvania. I’ll post more with exhibition dates soon.

Heinz Factory Paula Smith Photography

I’ve also had word that a collaborative project I’ve been developing with a documentary film maker has been given the green light. Watch this space for more information soon!

And life as a freelance photographer continues to bring interesting assignments from corporate headshots to stock photographs of cityscapes and landscapes.

If you’ve stumbled across this blog and there is something you’d like to ask me or hear from me in particular, just get in touch!

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Christmas Greetings

Christmas Greetings from Paula Smith Photography

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Islington Christmas Art Market | Angel Christmas Fair

I’ll be exhibiting and selling open and limited edition photographic prints at this annual Christmas Fair in Islington, alongside Christmas gifts from over 50 other artists and designers selling original works. Well worth a visit!

Preview night: 6th December
5 – 9pm

7 – 8 December 2013
11am – 6pm

Behind Angel Tube Station www.candidarts.com 3-5 Torrens Street Angel, London EC1V 1NQ


Angel Christmas Fair

Hope to see you there!

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My photo selected for the RPS – Urban Photo Fest Competition Exhibition

Ah shucks…so I didn’t win a prize, but here is the photograph selected by the judges from hundreds of entries from around the world to take part in the Royal Photographic Society and Urban Photo Fest Competition Exhibition #RPSUPF. The show is on till the 30th October at The Greenwich Gallery, Linear House, Peyton Place, Greenwich, SE10 8RS.

Congratulations to the winners and again thanks to the judges for selecting my image to be a finalist and part of the exhibition.


Here’s the link to the exhibition catalogue. http://www.rps.org/resources/region_downloads/RPS_UPF_Catalogue.pdf

More information:

Urban Photo Fest and Royal Photographic Society London

The Greenwich Gallery – for opening times to the exhibition.

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Finalist in RPS – UPF Photography Competition

I got some good news the other day that one of my images has been selected as a finalist to the Royal Photographic Society Urban Photo Fest Photo competition. The theme this year is ‘Urban materiality’ – about the ‘stuff’ we find in urban spaces.

I’m not sure which image has been selected yet. (They are making us wait!) But the fact that one has been selected out of how ever many hundreds entered is a real honour. I’m really looking forward to hearing the news and seeing the exhibition down in Greenwich.

Here is what I entered… Which one would you pick?



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Gods Own Junkyard | A Neon pilgrimage

It’s the usual story… You take for granted that you happen to live next door to one of London’s most unusual and amazing sites. Yet it’s not till hearing it’s about to close its doors that you suddenly spring into action and think… Wow, I have to go inside and see it before it’s gone!!

What am I talking about? ‘God’s own junkyard’, a gallery of neon signs created and collected by neon artist Chris Bracey, who’s family business Electro Signs across the road has been creating signage for customers all over the world for decades.

The council have sold the land to property developers and they in turn plan to build about 6 million postage sized flats on this postage sized piece of land next to the railway. Fortunately, the business and gallery (hopefully) isn’t closing, it’s just going to have to relocated, and to where, it’s not yet known. I hope so much that it can stay in the E17/Wood Street area. It would be such a shame to lose such a unique, creative family run business.

So, here are a few photographs from my pilgrimage to the gallery on a cold and wet Friday afternoon.  If you haven’t been yet, DO SO! You only have this weekend and next to get down there.


Oh, and during my visit I learnt… Neon is officially (IMHO) the best thing since sliced bread. And the smell is like sweet sweet perfume! Walking though those doors I might well have just died and gone to heaven!

More info:



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