Not many photographers bother to cultivate relationships with their home crags the way Garrett Smith has. While he’s shot in Spain, Morocco, Israel, and across North and Central America, Smith has done some of his best work at Little Cottonwood Canyon, just 15 miles from his hometown of Salt Lake City. Instead of pros, most of the climbers in Smith’s photos are his friends, who he says are more motivated to work for the shot.
“I always prefer to shoot trad climbing, but will shoot anything that the athletes [are] inspired by; the athlete loving what they are doing speaks through the image more than any style, route, or place,” Smith told me by email. For his part, he often plans weeks ahead for photos, and has had close brushes with injury from shredded ropes, rockfall, and “scary 5.9 soloing” while on shoots.
I’ve been a fan of Smith’s work ever since I saw one of his pictures in Rock and Ice. It’s refreshing to see such a strong photographer shooting the rock and people he’s close to.