A few years back, Buffalo, New York-based Kim Smith couldn’t wait to get out of Buffalo. It wasn’t until she heard a speech from Eddie Friel at a Design Block meeting, in which he compared the Buffalo Renaissance to the Glasgow Renaissance that she started to think of the city in a different light. Eddie’s words gave Kim a whole new outlook on her home city, one that moved her to begin “Buffalo Treasures,” a photographic project to honor the city she once found gloomy and tough.
I’ve begun a personal project—to document Buffalo as an architectural museum with stunning photography that does our city justice.
Eddie described how modern-day Buffalo was in a position similar to Glasgow in the late 1900s; both were industrial cities that faced economic downturn, but they both had structures that begged for a renaissance. He said of Buffalo, “The architecture is stunning” and “The cityscape is wonderful.” When Kim started photographing the city with these thoughts in mind, it transformed her view of the city.
Buffalo was the settlement of choice for my family since the 1800’s and it’s now the home of my choice, not obligation.
Kim knew that her town was rich in architectural masters. She started heading out to structures by Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, and Green & Wicks, just to name a few. From there, she’s focused on places on the National Register of Historic Places, and any building that she feels deserves a spotlight thrown on it as a treasure of Buffalo.
I’m doing what I can to breathe new life into familiar sites by shooting them from unfamiliar angles.
Kim says she’s astounded by how receptive people are about welcoming her into their buildings to photograph. She’s received access to several different types of spaces, and feels she is getting to know her hometown better than she ever has as she explores and captures it from all angles. Kim has also found a real joy working with the architecture and design community, and looks forward to continuing that relationship.
With her 27-foot camera stand and eye for transformation, Kim is still going strong with “Buffalo Treasures,” seeking building after building that speaks to the Buffalo Renaissance.
To view more of Kim’s work, visit kimsmithphoto.com.