Joel Preston Smith

I’m a freelance writer, photographer and artist in Portland, Oregon. I grew up in Liberty, West Virginia and served as a photojournalist in the U.S. Army (1987-1991), stateside at the Presidio of San Francisco when it was an active military post (it closed in 1994, in a preemptive strike on the Pentagon’s budget by the U.S. Congress).

I’ve served on humanitarian-aid missions to Rwanda, Honduras, Palestine and Iraq; I’m primarily interested in documentary projects that address social justice and the environment (which means I’m mainly interested in stories and photos that dwell heavily on relationships between people and their environment).

Joel Preston Smith with 12-year-old Hiba Mathoob, Baghdad, Iraq (photo by Fatima Mathoub)

My publication credits include Utne, Gobshite Quarterly, The Irish Times and others. My first book of essays and photographs, Night of a Thousand Stars and Other Portraits of Iraq, was published by Nazraeli Press (2006). My photographs also appear in The Library at Night, by Alberto Manuel; It’s a Boy: It’s a Boy! Your Son’s Development from Birth to Age 18, by Michael Thompson and Teresa Barker (and other books).

I’m a contributing writer for In Good Tilth, The Bear Deluxe, and Sound Consumer magazines.

I doubt there’s much good work that isn’t the product of many talented people (the artist’s teachers, editors, heroes ...). For me, there’s (for one) Kurt Deutscher, who is the man backstage at Netraising; he’s the Internet guru who makes this website possible. Like me, he prefers to work with nonprofits, and is responsible for creating the web presence of the Oregon Make a Wish Foundation, Sisters of the Road, and many more agencies that have as their mission the creation of a better community, a better world.

I thank him.