Daisy K. Smith
Is it necessary to do research into the life of an unknown photographer, such as Daisy K. Smith, to understand her pictures? When I bought her pictures, I bought a lot of personal documents: letters of recommendation, certificates, newspaper articles and documents about marionettes.
One thing became very clear, Daisy K. Smith was an amateur photographer and a music and drawing teacher at primary schools from 1906 until 1948. During that period a lot of teachers were involved in the Educational Puppetry Association. The making of puppets and dolls was a part of the education program.
I suppose that the photographs presented on the website are the result of such an education program.
The glove puppets and the marionettes are nothing special but the way they are photographed tells a lot about the love and passion for the subject.
The photographs shown in the Novita section of this website are cold and distant. The photos by Daisy K. Smith are warm and involved. Perhaps they are technically imperfect (the sharpness isn't always in the right place and the prints are greyish) but the involvement with the subject fills this lack of impureness with poetry.
These pictures have a great surrealistic value, although they were not meant to do so. This surrealistic aspect comes from the subject and the liveliness of the marionettes and puppets. A professional photographer would have great difficulties in making pictures of the same strength. Only someone who knows and feels the subject's soul can represent these objects as living things.
One of the most remarkable pictures is the "Puppet Death scenery". This contre-jour decor is the most surrealistic image and makes me think of the films by Luis Bunuel. Macabre with some humour.
Involuntary great photography made by a lady named Daisy K. Smith.