Famed photographer Gary Mark Smith to give lecture for journalism, art students

RENEE DUMLER/KANSANGary Mark Smith, a KU alumnus and photojournalist, will be speaking in the Hancock Ballroom of The Oread from 6-8 p.m. He will present about his experiences during his career as a street photojournalist.

Photojournalism and art are one and the same for Gary Mark Smith. The street photographer will be holding a lecture, “Gary Mark Smith, Gonzo Visionary: The Methodology of a Most Unusual Fine Art Career,” tonight from 6-8 p.m. in the Hancock Ballroom of the Oread Hotel, 1200 Oread Ave., to discuss his motivations and life experiences.

Smith is a KU alumnus and world-renown photographer. Since graduating from the School of Journalism in 1984, he has worked in nearly 70 countries - from Cold War Russia to the slums of Brazil - across six continents to become known for blurring the line between documentation and art. Smith's work generally depicts people in their everyday life, but he is best known for his photographs of war, natural disaster and revolution.

“This is definitely unlike anything that we've done at the library before,” said Rebecca Smith, KU Library's Executive Director of Communications, Advancement and Administration. “Gary Mark Smith is one of the most honest people I've ever met. This is will be a no-holds barred conversation. He will talk very openly about his experiences.”

The Gary Mark Smith presentation is one of a series of events hosted by the library that engage with donors and friends of the library.

“I think that his artistic goal is that journalism is a part of art,” Rebecca said. “If you were to look at the photos, you'd see a much more evocative story than what you might be able to read in the paper.”

Gary Mark Smith has donated thousands of photographs as well as sarticles both authored by him and about him to the Kenneth Spencer Research Library. Students can request to view this collection in-person at the surface desk.

“The images really do tell the rest of the story,” Rebecca said. “And most importantly, they tell about the people who are involved in these particular issues or encounters and how it affects their lives.”

“Gary Mark Smith, Gonzo Visionary” will cover topics such as street photography's place in photojournalism and his artistic and personal practices. The lecture is free and open to any students interested in the fields of journalism or visual art.