Philip Smith

"Some people are bullfighters, some people are politicians. I’m a photographer."  Blow-Up (1966)

Some people call me Phil. Some people call me Philip. Some people call me Frenchy. Everybody calls me a photographer.

Celebrating the final rolling of Toomer's Oaks in Auburn, AL.

Celebrating the final rolling of Toomer's Oaks in Auburn, AL.

I was born in Washington, DC on September 30, 1987, but raised in Atlanta, GA. I enrolled at Auburn University in 2005 and graduated in 2010 with a bachelor's degree in French. Auburn, AL is home for now, but I'm thinking about returning to Atlanta.

I thought I wanted to become a French teacher, or an English teacher in France, but realized in my senior year that I hated school. I convinced myself that someone who hates school has no business teaching, so I dropped the French thing immediately after I graduated.

I hadn't always been interested in photography, but I always had a point and shoot on family trips or summer camp. I graduated to a DSLR when I bought a Nikon D50 kit in 2006. From then on, my camera went everywhere with me.

I became obsessed with urban decay, or as close to it as you can get in Eastern Alabama. I feel like I truly became a photographer in the abandoned houses, mills and churches in the towns near Auburn.

I marched with the Auburn University Marching band for 4 years, but decided to hang up the uniform and volunteer as a photographer for the AUMB in my 5th year of school.

My career took off immediately. I was published on the cover of Auburn Magazine, AU's alumni magazine, for work I did with the band. AU's yearbook, the Glomerata, published several of my photos in their 2009 volume.

After the 2009 football season, I got my first real photography job as an assistant photographer at The Auburn Plainsman, where I won "Photographer of the Year" for 2009-10.

Shooting in Chewacla State Park, Auburn, AL. Photo:  Philip Darden

Shooting in Chewacla State Park, Auburn, AL. Photo: Philip Darden

In June 2010, I got a part-time gig shooting for FlipFlopFoto, a commercial photography studio in Opelika, AL. I assisted with weddings and shooting events around town The next year, I was promoted to a full-time position as a lead-photographer, event manager, and raphic designer.

In 2014, I accepted a position at The Mint Julep Boutique, an online woman's clothing store, based in Auburn, Alabama. For 3 years I served as their chief photographer, producing images for their website.

In April 2018, applied for and accepted an offer to be one of Auburn University's staff photographers, photographing everything but athletics. I'm lucky enough to say that I'm currently doing exactly what I want, in the exact place I want to do it. WAR EAGLE!