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Jamie Orlando Smith

Photographer Overview

James Orlando Smith was born in 1986 and grew up in the Cotswolds and Herefordshire. Educated at Steiner schools, he ‘studied a lot of art’ as a child. Photography became his principal passion in 2002, when he was living in Brazil on an exchange programme and broke his arm. Limited in what he could do, he began taking pictures and fell in love with the camera. On returning to England, Jamie attended Herefordshire Art College, from which he graduated in 2005.

After graduating, Jamie went on to study at the University of Brighton, where his teachers included the Magnum photographer Mark Power. While studying there, he started working in professional kitchens to help pay his living expenses. After leaving the university he worked for another two and a half years in professional kitchens – ‘I got distracted by food’, he says.

The ‘distraction’ proved to be a game-changer. Jamie went into the restaurants on his days off to photograph the food and the people, and one of those he worked with noticed his interest in photography. That person was Gennaro Contaldo, well known as an Italian TV chef both in his own right and as a collaborator with another Jamie – Jamie Oliver.

Jamie O got Jamie S to travel the country photographing his restaurants (‘the food, the people, the spaces’) and from there his food photography career took off. He has carried out projects for a number of major international food companies while also continuing his work with chefs, most recently Gordon Ramsay. Among his most recent projects are Gordon Ramsay’s Ultimate Fit Food and Matt Pritchard’s Dirty Vegan, both published in 2018.

Jamie loves working with a wide range of clients, ‘understanding their different requirements and enjoying the different challenges they bring.’ He believes that his experience as a chef gives him a particular insight into food photography – as an art form, a technically demanding craft, and a discipline requiring meticulous execution under time-pressured circumstances.

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