Cory Harrison Smith (b. 1989) is a photographer living and working in Philadelphia, PA. He grew up in the suburbs of Texas and Pennsylvania and holds a BA in Film & Media Arts from Temple University. Cory is primarily interested in the camera’s unique capacity to elevate and obfuscate the everyday. A big believer in the power of the image sequence, Cory is inspired by the ability to generate infinite potential meaning through image relationships. He is interested in borrowing from the vernacular tradition, but rendering his ideas such that coherent narrative and the notion of the photograph as a reliable document are often rejected. As such, his work tends to favor aesthetic sensibility over an outward conceptual framework. Through a kind of free association, Cory’s work subtly explores relationships between architecture, nature, and modern culture. He recently self-published his first artist book.
Copacabana was born out of time spent photographing back-and-forth between the Jersey Shore and Cory’s neighborhood in Philadelphia in the spring and summer of 2016. For Cory, the making and sequencing of these images served as a loose formal exercise in using basic artistic cues (color, form, quality of light) to build a psychological space suspended by a sort of hidden code. Photographed primarily in the midst of the U.S. presidential campaign, the reoccurring location of Atlantic City reveals itself as a political catalyst in the work, given the city’s complex relationship with Donald Trump. Broad themes of gentrification, entertainment, architecture, and desire aren’t so much critiqued as they are aesthetically reveled in. Copacabana plays to the idea of surface level beauty and questions how meaning and history can be traced through this approach. The work leaves viewers with a surrealistic puzzle that may or may not fit together.
To see more of Cory’s work, check out his website.