drkrm is pleased to present America’s Finest Kids, photographer Terry Smith’s photographic essay of youth culture in Southern California, which will be on display from June 2nd through June 30th, 2012. There will be a reception for the Artist Saturday June 2nd from 7 till 10 pm.
“Is it art, or indecent photography?…” In 2001, Terry Smith hung 51 photographs in a downtown San Diego Starbucks. Nine days after the show opened he was forced to take them down. Although steeped in a desire to facilitate social awareness, Smith’s images make people uncomfortable. His work is powerful, provocative, and outrageously sexualized. The gritty, raw nature of Smith’s images - young men, street kids, punks, juvenile delinquents - depicts a class of society the average person doesn’t consider beautiful. These are “lost” kids that Smith describes as “all tore up inside.” He funnels a genuine passion for these boys into his art, creating profound and sometime disturbing images of these young men. Smith explains that, “I simply want to celebrate the beauty and strength found in the young American male.”
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1962, Smith grew up in a Christian home and even sang in the church choir. In the 1980s Smith became involved in social work as a missionary for his church and with juvenile delinquents at shelters in L.A and San Diego. He started photographing local teenage surfer and skater kids and in an attempt to show that, despite their outward appearance, these “damaged” kids are all beautiful. His resulting photography essay is deeply personal and emotional. Smith’s been photographingAmerica’s Finest Kids for 15 years.
Smith’s images are reminiscent of the stark documentary reality of Larry Clark, the sexuality of Bruce Weber and the erotic street photography of Herbert List.
drkrm is an exhibition space dedicated to the display of popular cultural images, fine art photography, documentary and photo journalism, cutting edge and alternative photographic processes. In addition, drkrm is a full-service black & white photo lab. drkrm is located at 727 S. Spring Street in the Gallery Row district of Downtown Los Angeles. Regular hours are Wednesday-Saturday 12-6, Sunday 12-4 and by appointment.
All gallery events are free and open to the public.
America's Finest Kids
Photographs by Terry Smith
June 2nd - June 30th, 2012
Reception for the Artist Saturday June 2, 7-10pm