RAUL SMITH

I come from a more practical type of enviroment. My family is full of doctors, PHD's, lawyers and all that kind of stuff, so right from the begining I was set to be an engineer. I did really well in high school, and later on I went to college for it. So, I didn't really give the arts a chance, but one of the things I always remember about my childhood is that there always was a camera around. It wasn't until after sometime around mid-college that I was exposed to another world and another kind of people - designers, photographers, artists, DJs, tattoo artists,etc; a bunch of misfits with whom I felt right at home and that's when I got that itch to comunicate or create something. After that, I just grabbed a camera - it was the thing that I related the most to. Also, I can't draw or play shit. I dropped out of school and started to do things my way and at my own pace so the more I did, the more I felt it was easier to convey my vision.

Related to confidence, I always have been a confident person because I really don't give a shit what others may think of me. I always give my 100% in every aspect I set my mind to. Most of the time I have somenthing to say (and I say a lot) and I just try to find the means to do it while I can.

 

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Women are beautiful. I am more romantic, artsy kind of shit. Everything about a woman is beautiful - her quirks, her figure, her body, her manners, so I am just drawn to it. Why would someone not want to be a part of it?

Here in my country (Venezuela) you just hear from everyone, "Venezuela has the most beautiful women in the world." Matter fact, we aren't the only ones saying that, it'ss a well "known" fact around the world. But for me, that's not right or maybe they are not the type of girls I'm looking for because that same saying was the one that led us to a country full of stereotypes - those kind of fake / dumb chicks, fake tits, fake lips, fake manners, fake everything, gold digger chicks with nothing in their heads; those are the ones that most of the people over here are after.

In my case, I just look for attitude - a girl with who you can make a connection or that you can just start a conversation with. I don't select my models based on looks, although you need to have a stardard. I like to work with girls that I said are pretty but have something to say, and I think that is the thing that make my pictures a bit different. You almost can see what they are thinking or hear the laugh of the girl in the picture.

That's about it. That's the type of girl I'm drawn to. And about my approach to everything else, I kept most of my practical / engineering mindset. I just tackle things as they come, when it comes to concept, type of shoot, problem solving, creating, I just do what I can do best at the moment and let it flow.

 

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I always look more for a simple, casual kind of look. In every aspect, that's my way of being. I like to live in the moment, and because I come from a background of party photography, I got used to working with the personality more than the wardrobe itself. I just try to make it work with their own clothes. Most of the time, I shoot only with the things that they show up wearing, or maybe I hand them one of my own pieces of clothes. My go to looks are always plain pieces of wardrobe, or nothing at all... I love that Sundays chill at home kind of vibe. Also, I love the no panties with top on, or viceversa, topless with pants on kind of look. I'm very basic on that kind of thing. The ones that give me headaches are the "sexy" lingerie shoots. I don't like it very much because it's hard sometimes to make it look natural or to de-sexualize it. I don't know why it always seems to me a little bit porn-ish. I prefer plain nudes instead, that's just me in my weird way of thinking.

 

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The fact that I did pretty damn well in high school and got into every college that I applied for made it for them. I always have been a little bit of a wild card. I used to get in a lot of trouble growing up, so when I broke the news to them, they weren't as surprised as you would think. Also, I didn't drop out of school until I was making a living out of photography. I built my thing parallel to the engineering career. In my family, we think that everyone knows what's best for them so we give each other our space to grow. I can't say that they weren't disappointed but I think they are pretty much okay with it.

 

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(laughing) I don't like to bitch about anything. I don't give a shit about most things, work or art world related. So yes, there are challenging things from time to time. Very often things get heavy, and just trying to live in this country is another kind of beast. So when it comes to my work I think you can't really compare it to a single Venezuelan mom trying to put some bread on the table. I'm grateful because I'm able to make a living out of it and I'm not tied to a desk from nine to five making deadlines or anything like it, and I get to hang with beatiful girls in light clothes and to know cool people while I'm doing it.

 

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About the future in general, I'm not [optimistic] mostly about the future of my country. Things over here are looking every day worse than the day before, and this kind of political bullshit is not going to stop for a fucking long time.

About my future, I think I need to be optimistic to not drop into a spiral of pitty and self medication. I made this choice for myself and I need to make it work. Pretty soon I'll be moving out of the country as the majority of the young people in Venezuela are looking for some sense of living and for better opportunities. So right now I'm looking very positive about my future; I have to be.

 

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The end of civilzation will be caused by: I'm really looking for aliens. Zombies would be cool too, though.

 




















Andrea // andreapaoladr

Raul Smith // smi7r // cargocollective.com/raulsmith

 

JUNNNKTANK is an online zine which has existed in one form or another since 2006.
For over a decade, the focus has been on highlighting the efforts of inspiring individuals and artists from around the world.

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Submissions are always welcome to junk@junnnktank.com.