When I think about Amanda Smith's work the first word that comes to mind is "retro." Runners up would be: "nostalgic," "'70s," "evocative." Only shooting in film definitely adds to that feel, but moreover her aesthetic conjures up a young (pretty) rebel who probably cuts school or smokes cigs under the bleachers or both. No matter who or what she's shooting for she makes it her own, and in a town full of photographers she stands out. She's an original, moving to Portland in the summer of 2006 at the ripe age of 19 before Portland was weird PORTLAND. She's obviously never followed, marching to her own beat before she could even order a beer. Also, she's a steak-eating and whiskey-drinking full-time employee at a youth homeless shelter. Jesus, what am I doing with my life?!

Where are you from?
I'm from Cypress, Texas which is outside of Houston.

Your pictures all seem to have a very retro, '70s feel. I realize it has a lot to do with the subjects you're shooting or the product. What came first, your style or your clients?
I would say my style came first, then clients who had similar interests or aesthetics would contact me for projects.

When did you start taking pictures?
First memories of me with a camera were in middle school when my cousin and I would dress up and take pictures then stay up all night making zines and collages out of magazine cutouts. At 14 I joined my high school's newspaper, where I first used a darkroom. Since then I've always had a camera on me.

What drew you to it?
As a kid I think I was drawn to it because it was a way to bring life to my imagination. As I grew older I got more into the idea of documentation and exposing events, people, and places. Now I like to blend the two.


I noticed on your Instagram that you have a motorcycle, you ride with your bf, and seem to enjoy a lot of Oregon—camping and riding around on bikes. When did you start riding and can you tell me a couple of your favorite trips or magical spots you've come across in this great state?
I don't have my own motorcycle—I'm too busy spending all my money on film to afford one. But it's my favorite way to explore, and my favorite place I've traveled to in Oregon is the Alvord Desert, Steens Mountain area. That place is one of the most magical places I've ever been.

What inspires you to get up in the morning?
There is a lot to see and do in this beautiful world, and I got shit to do.

Describe your style in three words.
"Colorful," "idealistic," "nostalgic."

Lighting round: Favorite meal in Portland.
Steak at Laurelhurst Market.

Place to shoot.

Cocktail of choice.
Whiskey Lemonade.

Find her work on her website