In 1974 Scott Smith was a young photographer living in San Diego, when he was introduced by a mutual friend to Tom Waits. Both Waits and Smith had a passion for music and they soon became friends. Smith’s compelling black and white photographs of Waits document his start as a folk singer and songwriter, and then through a period of time during which Waits’ musical persona emerged.
Smith photographed Waits relaxing with friends, in performance, at his apartment, cruising in his car, playing pool, talking with locals at a lunch counter, and more, while at the same time photographing the Southern Californian environment they both grew up in. Smith’s images give us an intimate portrait of Tom Waits in the process of defining himself as a musical artist and the environment he lived in.
Scott Smith started taking photographs in the early 1970s in San Diego, California. Aside from several months in the mining districts of South Wales, and road trips around the Southwestern United States, Smith’s photographic work focused largely on Southern California. By the mid-seventies Smith became a shipyard welder in Newport News Virginia and later returned to San Diego to pursue a career as union construction electrician. In 1988 Smith received a degree from San Diego State University and in 2004 a PhD in British history from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently a lecturer in American and Russian history at the University of Pittsburgh.
Scott Smith’s limited edition photographs are available through Govinda Gallery.