Paul Mark Smith
Medellín – Colombia
I was born in Leicester, England, and grew up in Northampton, which I like to brag is the home of poet John Clare, writer/graphic novelist Alan Moore, and Francis Crick of DNA fame. The work of each has left traces on my life.
As a kid I dreamt of being a footballer, but wasn’t good enough by far. I then dreamt of being a pilot and joined the air cadets at my school (for boys), where I wore a military uniform, marched, shot guns, and flew in planes. However, that dream too disintegrated as I grew older and accumulated more experiences and became a little more critical.
I had discovered photography at a relatively young age – my first camera a Kodak Brownie Twin 20, gifted to me by the father of my then then best friend (Julian Trick – RIP) who was a psychiatrist at the local private mental hospital, whose speciality was cocaine addiction, and who had rock-star patients I understood. Later I would acquire Pentax ME super, saving my earnings from picking up rubbish, cleaning bottles and carrying laundry down from the rooms a local hotel where I started working from 11 years old. With that camera I would take my first published photos (in animal rights activism), post-punk concerts and hitch-hiking Britain and Europe to photograph my portfolio which got me into the Newport School of Documentary Photography, in Gwent, South Wales.
When I left Newport I learnt some Spanish with a BBC book and two cassettes and travelled to Nicaragua. I’d first become interested in Central and South America when I discovered a book in a stack in a bargain book store which was called “Juntas United”. I thought it was about football – then my real passion – but came across images and texts that changed my view of the world.
In progress. Continues..