Stafford Smith

Stafford Smith


Associate Professor

Office: 215 Lake Superior Hall
Phone: (616) 331-8170
E-mail: [email protected]

Curriculum Vitae
Personal Website


Stafford Smith grew up mostly in the small towns and villages of upstate New York - which looks a lot like rural Michigan.  After college he spent a decade working in the Japanese broadcast television industry; an endeavor that took him to the L.A. riots, breakfast with Tonya Harding, a cat circus in Key West, and finally as an on-air presenter for financial news in Tokyo. The birth of his first child triggered a re-evaluation of his life and a decision to leave television and return to his earlier interests in the fine arts. He earned his M.F.A. in 2004 and began teaching that fall.

Much of Stafford Smith's work is about the medium of photography itself. From a decade long investigation into the representation of the family to the roll of photography in the age of social media to the dynamics of the photographer's gaze Stafford has been influenced by the critical writings of Roland Barthes, Vilém Flusser and Paul Frosh. Stafford's current obsession is with an alternative process he discovered involving aged and distressed negatives from Fujifilm's instant negatives. See his website for examples. Stafford indulges in many branches of the fine arts including painting, cartooning and video alongside his true passion, photography.  Stafford enjoys exploring the waterways of Michigan in his Kayak and eating good food in Chicago.


M.F.A., Photography, Cornell University

B.A., Printmaking, Wesleyan University


  • PHO 171  - Photography I
  • PHO 175  - Understanding Still Photography
  • PHO 266 - History of Photography I
  • PHO 272 - Digital Photography
  • PHO 366 - History of Photography 2
  • PHO 373 - Digital Photography 2
  • PHO 399 - Independent Study
  • PHO 490 - Internship
  • PHO 495 - Photography Capstone and Thesis Seminar


Page last modified April 22, 2020