Narrative

Ron Baxter Smith is a Canadian photographer, director and artist who works in Italy, UK, USA and his home country of Canada.

Photography was always destined to be my life’s work. Encouraged by my parents at a young age probably because photography was my father’s hobby before I was born. He had sold his equipment when I came along to have the extra money, but there was one 2 ¼ square camera that he taught me how to load and it changed my life. This became an interest that carried through high school into university.

As an artist, photographer and director living and working in my home country of Canada, I have been the recipient of over 500 awards for my photography and television commercials for my own personal work and my work in advertising and design in the USA, UK, Japan and Canada.

In 2007, I was awarded The Heart of Umbria Award by the Italian Province of Umbria where, along with a solo exhibition of my work, they produced a monograph of 30 years of my photography. In 1994, Communication Arts Magazine in Palo Alto, CA gave me a feature article making me amongst the first, if not the first Canadian photographer whose work was featured in their magazine. In 1981, I was awarded an Ontario Arts Council Grant to assist with a solo exhibition at The American Consulate in Toronto. In 1980, I received a Canada Council Grant for a year-long project. And in 1975 and again in 1976 The National Film Board of Canada purchased over 125 of my photographs for a National Exhibition and for inclusion into their permanent collection, now housed in The Canadian Center for Photography.

Through my work with designers and advertising agencies, I have been awarded over 80 Platinum, Gold, Silver or Bronze awards for the excellence of my work. One of my television commercials was included in the Top Ten Ads of the Century by the Advertising Council in 2000.

The AIGA, The American Institute of Graphic Arts has an online library in their archive dedicated to my work that has been awarded and collected over the years. The ADCC, The Advertising and Design Club of Canada also has an online archive of his awarded work, being just shy of 100 for this competition alone.  ADCC.

During my career, I have created two stamps for Canada Post. One was to honour Public School Education and another was a Millennium Stamp commemorating the Canadian invention of Pablum. The portrait of a young girl with Pablum around her mouth became banners outside The National Portrait Gallery in Ottawa.

For 22 years I have been a director and director/cinematographer working with and communicating for some of North America’s largest corporations.

My wife, Beverly, and I have successfully had a freelance photography company for 33 years where we have worked for many of the largest North American and UK companies, banks and institutions. My photographs and portraits are in the collections of many of these major corporations. I have shot for many editorial magazines, for example, Gentlemen’s Quarterly, Newsweek, The New York Times Magazine and German Vogue along with having a Conde Nast contract for 4 years, from 1993 – 1996.

I have served on the Board of the Art Director’s Club of Canada, been a Member of the American Society of Media Photographers and have judged several competitions for the Canadian Association of Photographers and Illustrators in Communication including Album Cover Design for the Juno Awards for Canadian Music.

In 2008, my work was requested by Graphis, New York / Zurich to be included in a coffee table book on the 100 Best Photographers in the World. Unfortunately due to the economy in 2008, the book was never produced. But my work has been on many occasions included in other Graphis hard cover compilations where only the best work is chosen in any given year. My work was selected from these competitions to be included in several of each of Graphis’ Photography, Nudes, Design, Brochures, Advertising, Poster, Annual Reports, Typography and Alternative Photography annuals. In 1994, the New York ‘Art Directors Club’, chose me to be included in a book of 13 photographers who used the computer to create their images. I declined, to their disbelief, as my work was entirely created in camera.

For 17 years I held an H1, O1 and an E1 Visa to live and work freelance in The United States due to my ‘outstanding achievement’ in photography. I also hold an Ancestry Visa for the UK and an Elective Guest Visa for Italy including having been given individual Visas to work in South Africa and Mexico on specific projects.

I have had solo and group exhibitions in The United States, Italy and Canada. See Bio.

My work is in the collections of many museums in both the US and Canada; for example, The Art Institute of Chicago, The AIGA, The National Gallery of Canada, The National Portrait Gallery of Canada, The Museum of Contemporary Photography, The Art Gallery of Ontario, The Royal Ontario Museum and more.

Having studied at York University, Toronto, Canada, I graduated in 1976 with an Hon. BFA. and an Hon. Ed., also studying Art History in Florence, Italy through the University of British Columbia with the assistance of a research grant from York University to photograph the fresco cycle in the Camposanto in Pisa, Italy.