Homage to a True Aesthete

 

The moment I met Rodney Smith I knew we were kindred. I think it happened when he revealed the interior of his garage at his beautiful home in the Palisades, New York. I recall gasping out loud when I saw it: a garage completely lined in mahogany bead board, stained and varnished like a yacht.  I swooned… not just at what I was seeing but what I suddenly knew about this man who I didn’t know… that for him, life was in the details, the exquisite ones.

I was fortunate enough to work with "Roddy" on my national advertising campaigns for Henredon, Barbara Barry Dream and Wedgwood an to do a shoot with him was a hedonistic experience. The caterers, the models, the wardrobe, the locations, the pace; it was so civilized as to seem from another era...the 1940's perhaps?

Roddy made it look effortless. Standing behind his large Hasselblad camera on its even larger tripod, he would gaze at his subject silently and sensitively for minutes on end and then, “Whoosh” he would throw the black fabric over his head and “duck-in” to capture the shot.

He was a perfectionist, yet one who embraced imperfection in his friends, thank God, and all who worked with him, or for him, got to know that quickly. Tough as he could be, he was a man with a gentle center and a big heart. He was man with a dedication to beauty and to his own razor-sharp vision.

That he collaborated with me on these campaigns remains a source of joy; the memories of our shoots linger and continue to inspire me, and for that, I am not only grateful, but forever changed.

I believe his work has made a mark and that it will stand the test of time, which for me, is the benchmark for genius.

Barbara Barry