Jerry Smith was born in 1925, grew up in Cincinnati and attended Walnut Hills High School. Upon graduation in 1943, he was immediately inducted into the Army and served with the 718th Amtrac Battalion in the Philippines and Okinawa.
After returning home in 1946, Smith attended the University of Cincinnati and worked in his father’s furniture store, located downtown at Third and Race Streets. He continued to pursue his interest in photography, becoming a regular at Provident Camera on Vine Street. Smith set up a darkroom in his basement and learned how to process black and white film and make prints using an enlarger.
During the late forties and early fifties he photographed many of his friends and classmates as well as the city in which he lived. In 1952, Smith married the daughter of photographer Nelson Ronsheim. Inspired by Ronsheim’s photos of the city, taken from the surrounding hills more than a decade earlier, Smith captured broad views of the city using a large format camera. The negatives produced by this effort make for exceptionally detailed prints of Cincinnati at mid-century.
Though his photographic activity declined over time, Smith trained all three of his children in the use of camera and darkroom, sparking a lifetime interest that continues to this day.
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© CINCINNATI - A GLIMPSE FROM THE PAST