REBECCA SMITH, BIO/STATEMENT
Rebecca born in Memphis, Tennessee was raised surrounded by artists. Her brother is a potter and painter, and her nephew took after his father. Her husband, Marcos Yrizarry, was a renowned artist in Puerto Rico and Spain, where Rebecca lived for 10 years. She studied Renaissance lute and vihuela in Spain and thrived in a community of artists involved in actively resisting the dictator, Francisco Franco. Her musical studies continued in Switzerland and Paris surrounded by some of the best medieval musicians in Europe.
Rebecca acquired her Running Springs home in 1992. She moved to the mountains permanently when she retired after teaching English and Spanish to recent immigrant students for thirty years. It was then that she discovered the medium for capturing her fascination with life. Through the lens of her camera, she had finally learned to express the restless artist that was always inside her.
This new journey was inspired by the well-known photographer-John Hummel- who had been her friend since 1993. He invited her to join the Mountain Arts Photographic Society (MAPS) that he created. Though she had little experience with a camera beyond taking snapshots, John offered her the gift of his mentorship because he saw that she had an “eye” for photography. In 2013, Rebecca and John collaborated with thirty-five mountain photographers and the local Celtic group, “Wake the Bard,” to create a DVD called, “A Land for All Seasons-Seasonal Images of the San Bernardino National Forest.” All proceeds continue to go to the San Bernardino Mountains Land Trust.
Having always loved observing the beauty of our world, her passion for photography was ignited when she traveled to Yellowstone with John Hummel and Barbara Jordan. Seeing the wildlife and geysers through their eyes made her want to pursue photography seriously. Shortly thereafter, she had the opportunity to photograph the Onaqui Mustangs near Salt Lake City, Utah. She hopes to continue photographing these loving, intelligent animals to document their plight.
In the winter of 2017, Rebecca enrolled in the RCC Photography Program. In her second year, her teacher allowed her to shoot the assigned class projects during a trip to India. For ten days, She stayed at an ashram on the Ganges River. One day, they visited “Ramana’s Garden”-a rescue home for orphans and marginalized children. Some are regarded as “Dalits,” who formerly would have been unjustly labeled as “untouchables.” She was privileged to take portraits of many of the beautiful and grateful children. Prints of those portraits have allowed her and some friends to fundraise money to benefit “Ramana’s Garden.”
Soon after returning from India, Rebecca was juried into the Mountain Arts Network Gallery where her images can be seen. Her vision for her photography company-“Exposing Miracles”- is, in a humble way, to share the “miracles” that surround us daily. She aspires to use the images of her camera to shed “light” on environmental/wildlife issues and children in need.