From Here, Now Away
In the Midcoast, we’ve gotten quite a bit of the “From Away, Now Here” influx. So, this is a new feature to highlight people who’ve grown up here and are on a journey elsewhere to shine their creative light.
Carter Smith grew up in Maine and still has a family cabin on Bailey Island. He left for New York City when he was 19, started working for modeling agencies, and traveling the country doing model scout tours. With an eye for offbeat and unusual, he took portraits of the people he met along the way, such as carnival workers and gas station attendants who wanted nothing to do with modeling. Because of these portraits, Smith got the attention of iD magazine. Within 24 hours, he was offered to shoot for a Levi’s campaign. Within six months, he was working for Vogue and W. The camera has been his window to dark, strange and haunted worlds. As a successful fashion photographer who has worked on locations all over the world, he moved on to filmmaking. Obsessed with ‘80s horror movies and Fangoria magazine as a kid, (the movie Brood was probably his favorite) he adapted a script from Bugcrush, a foreboding short story by Scott Treleaven about a high school crush that goes horribly wrong. The 37-minute short filmed in Bowdoinham, Maine, won Best Short Film Prize at Sundance and went on to show at the Cannes Film Festival. Since then, Smith has directed the horror/suspense thriller The Ruins and is now reaching a point in his career where he wants to make more personal movies involving troubled relationships. This winter he’s working on producing and filming a movie he adapted from Christopher Barzark’s novel, One For Sorrow, a haunting coming-of-age story about a murdered teenage boy a la The Lovely Bones.
Q: When you were growing up on Bailey Island, what kind of photographs would you take as a teenager?
CS: As a teenager, I used to dress up my sister and her friends, drag them into the fields behind our house, drape them in gauze and Army blankets and paint their faces with haunting make-up. I thought I was being very avant-garde at the time.
Q: Your work seems to gravitate toward stories with dark coming-of-age themes and disquieting relationships. What about that attracts you to this material?
CS: I think I’m probably attracted to dark stories because of my years as a fashion photographer, where my job was to make everything look perfect and beautiful.
Q: Are you still doing fashion photography? What are some of the best photo shoots you’ve ever been on, in terms of location, people and the purpose of the campaign?
CS: I’m still shooting stills, because I shoot mostly on location. Earlier this year, I went on Safari in South Africa for two weeks, shooting a campaign for Louis Vuitton. I’ve gotten to travel the entire world for work, but some of my favorite jobs have happened out on Bailey Island.
Q: Tell us a little more about the film you’re working on this winter and what about it fires you up?
CS: The film I’m currently shooting is called “Jamie Marks is Dead” and it is a heart-breaking high school ghost story I love, about a boy that no one cared about, no one noticed, when he was alive. It’s about how difficult it is to be a lonely kid and how desperately we all need to be close to someone.
Q: What about Maine stays with you in your work and in your life?
CS: Maine stays with me in the form of my little cottage on Bailey Island. I think of it every day, always counting the days until I can be there next. It’s my favorite place in all the world.
The Killer Convo
This blog is a is a killer roundup of all arts, entertainment, brewery & distillery, food trucks, happy hour happenings in the Midcoast Maine. Feel free to email me anything about Midcoast arts, entertainment & the creative economy.