Edwin Smith

"Mr Smith is… a genius at photography"

Hailed by the poet and architectural historian Sir John Betjeman as "a genius at photography", Edwin Smith (1912-1971) was one of Britain's finest photographers, noted especially for his sensitive evocations of place. The recurrent themes of his work - a concern for the fragility of the environment; an acute appreciation of the need to combat cultural standardization by safeguarding regional diversity; and a conviction that architecture should be rooted in time and place - are as pressing today as when Smith first framed them in his elegant compositions.

Smith's archive of 60,000 images and their copyright are now held by the Robert Elwall RIBA Library Photographs Collection, with 4,500 available to view on RIBApix.

Below are some of our picks from his collection. To view more of Edwin Smith's work click here.

12 items
Clothes lines, Glencaple, near DumfriesRIBA10714

 
Brighton beachRIBA28999

 
Edinburgh, looking west from the Crags to the CastleRIBA10757


Basilica of San Marco, VeniceRIBA5511

 
Campden House, Chipping Campden, Cotswolds: fragment of the destroyed mansion house with the 'Almonry' in the backgroundRIBA14999

 
Cottages near Ardare, County DonegalRIBA11780


Great Palaestra, PompeiiRIBA25611

 
Road in the Burren, County ClareRIBA11747

 
Roofscape, Whitby, North YorkshireRIBA5710


St Lawrence, Didmarton, Gloucestershire: the vestry, formerly the north transeptRIBA5654

 
Stokesay Castle, Shropshire: the gatehouse with the medieval great hall in the backgroundRIBA2996-31

 
Triangular Bridge, Crowland, Lincolnshire: close-up of a Romanesque statue of Christ in MajestyRIBA26756