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F. Carter Smith Portfolio
Saturday
May282011

F Shoots Video, too!

Most people know me as photojournalist F. Carter Smith. What they don’t often know is that my career began shooting and editing 16mm film for documentary and news stories for NBC affiliate KOA-TV in Denver, Colorado in 1974. When digital video was introduced to the masses by Apple Quicktime in 1991, I was undeniably excited at its prospects. Years later, we have evolved from poor quality video to fantastic new tools that can project the look and feel of film. The basic elements of storytelling have remained constant. Please take a look at some of my recent video projects on this, my new demo reel. Thanks for the inspiration!
Tuesday
May242011

Art Cars Collide

Actually, that only happens in your head after 275 entries pass by on Allen Parkway. For the 24th year, and first in conjunction with a world's museum convention. Keep it free, and support the Orange Show Foundation!

Sunday
Jan162011

21 Years

Our dear Lindsey turns twenty-one today and will celebrate the milestone far from home. She begins her semester abroad to study French language, architecture, culture and cinema today in the Riviera. While at Texas, not only did she achieve academically, but made an impact as an intern for the Texas Civil Rights Project where she championed research into prisoner's medical care rights. This young woman has touched us all with her gifts, and we wish her further success in the world forum. We are extremely blessed to have two such extraordinary daughters. Love, Dad

Friday
Dec032010

Being Sarah Palin

You Betcha! The former Alaska guvernator-turned-reality star couldn't resist picking up the baby of a serviceman in uniform who stood in line for an autographed copy of her new book Monday, What the F, America? Faith, Family and Flag. Her mama bear instincts were to lift the six-month old girl wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the words "Future President". Overheard was the daddy Sergeant exclaiming, "Oh, no, I'm gonna hear it from the wife now!" as he left the table.  Another group of tea party goers in red, white and blue garb had her attention now. "We're from Clear Lake, that's near NASA ..." which elicited a blank stare. Another woman who resembled Sarah herself was interviewed by a local tv newsman as she entered the bookstore. "I support Sarah because she is trying to do good things for the country." Young daughter Piper played with her mommy's iPhone in its pink case, stroking her hair, using the device as a mirror, bored of the publicity tour.

Sunday
Nov142010

Recapturing Lightnin'


Saturday was proclaimed "Sam 'Lightnin' Hopkins Day" to honor the city's most famous bluesman nearly 30 years after his death in 1982.
A sharecropper's son, Sam built a guitar at age 8 by cutting a hole in a cigar box, nailing on a plank and stringing it with wire. He performed for pennies and dimes until he was drawn to Houston in the late 1930's. He played dance parties and gin joints, the sidewalks and even on city buses. "He loved to drink and play dominoes and shoot dice. Oh, that was his game", recalled cousin and guitarist Milton Hopkins who performed after the dedication of the state historical marker.
In 1960 he played Carnegie Hall with Joan Baez and Pete Seeger. He opened for the Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones, and performed a royal command performance before the Queen of England. Hopkins was a major influence on the playing of singer-songwriter Townes Van Zandt and ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons. The morning after a performance in Houston's Liberty Hall, a Daily Cougar writer and a young photographer were invited into Sam's apartment for an interview by his daughter Annie Mae Cox, pictured, right. He wouldn't let me use flash and there was only a single lamp burning as we talked with the shades drawn. Here was a man, a legend of country blues, who reluctantly talked about his new fame, discovered by a young white audience searching for the roots of rock and roll. My photos were not great. We did learn that he recorded many hundreds of songs, insisting on $50 cash up front per side, a mere hundred bucks for a 45-RPM record, including his future songwriting royalties. 
His granddaughter Bertha Kelly loved to visit. "You could always find him in his big Cadillac parked in front of the liqour store on Dowling Street, his doors open, chatting to passersby." Annie May and her children, along with a great granddaughter attended the ceremony. We chatted and posed in front of the marker. My daughters also enjoyed the morning, listening to live music, visiting the Flower Man's house across the street and lunching on barbecue. Howling Wolf made an eerie appearance through the voice of bassist King Dino. And across the country, Bob Dylan was beginning his current sets, bopping away at “Leopard-Skin Pill-Box Hat,” its gruff veneer gave a surprising nod to Mr. Hopkins' song “Automobile Blues” from which Dylan drew the inspiration. Lightnin' was a man set free by his music, free to tell us his stories. Goodnight, Sam.
(Thanks to the Houston Blues Society, Eric Davis, Marty Racine and the Chronicle.)