With a graduate degree in painting, Nathan Smith brings a distinctly compositional sensibility to his work at The Day, where he is also known as the house philosopher. Having extensive experience living internationally, Nathan has a special ability to pick out the unique beauty of varying cultural traditions—something he is able to do whether the wedding is in New York or a more exotic destination.
Raised in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Nathan grew up surrounded by the stark beauty of the Chihuahuan desert. In addition to his life in the southwest, he spent every summer with his grandparents in Missouri reveling in the Mississippi River mythologies made legendary by his famous relative, Mark Twain. Sensitized to the aesthetic quality of both landscapes, he became interested in art at an early age. Winning a full scholarship to New Mexico State University, Nathan went on to study both painting and philosophy—his twin passions.
It was during his undergraduate years that Nathan first indulged the adventurousness of his heritage, spending every summer and spring break on extensive trips to Spain, Vietnam and Mexico—experiences that opened him up to the art and ideas of other cultures. His wanderlust continued after graduation, when he moved to Barcelona to open up a creative studio for international artists and later to South Africa, where he volunteered in squatter camps, AIDS hospitals and orphanages. Exposed to the beauty and brokenness of the world, Nathan realized that perhaps his biggest impact would be to document both aspects in his art and he returned to New Mexico to pursue an MFA in painting.
Intrigued with the documentary aspect of photography, Nathan started shooting weddings and other events in his native Southwest while he expanded his scope of travel. After a year working in the West African country of Gambia, he settled in New York, where he has found a home at The Day amidst other globally minded photographers and filmmakers.
“It is an illusion that photos are made with the camera… they are made with the eye, heart and head.”