In Time We Shall Know Ourselves

Hidden for 40 years, a compelling body of vernacular photographs from a road trip is revealed in book and museum tour

Raymond Smith’s, In Time We Shall Know Ourselves, has been published concurrently with an exhibition that opens at the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts on June 14th and will travel to four other museums throughout the South until 2016.

The book’s 52 black & white photographs were taken in the summer of 1974, mostly throughout the South. Critical essays by Richard H. King and Alexander Nemerov illuminate this compelling series of images.  King writes, “Smith’s recognition that his photographs are concerned with acknowledgement, with personal identity and communal belonging, and with loneliness and solidarity, imparts to his book an intelligence and complexity that lifts it above the merely interesting to the often profound.”

“These photographs reflect subjects, places and people encountered forty years ago during three months of travel covering half of the United States,” Says Smith. “As I explored the American vernacular landscape, I found myself increasingly drawn to the people inhabiting that landscape and came to comprehend the camera’s capacity to memorialize.”

Nemerov writes, “The easiest thing to say about Raymond Smith is that he follows in the tradition of Walker Evans and Robert Frank. Evans was his photography teacher at Yale in the early 1970s and Frank’s book The Americans (1958) is a source Smith acknowledges for his own book. But neither of these associations touches the deepest energy of Smith’s photographs… Traveling far and wide, Smith sought out his subjects in a way reminiscent of Evans and Frank. But unlike those photographers he was animated by a sense of the town studio as the place and soul of his interstate pictures…? In Time We Shall Know Ourselves is like other notable projects of the 1970s that asserted the power of the vernacular.”

The 144 pages of In Time We Shall Know Ourselves are case bound in a 9 x 12 inch horizontal format and feature 52 select photographs printed in duotone. The book’s three essays include Richard H. King’s “Mirror with a Memory”; Alexander Nemerov’s “First and Last: The Sequence of In Time We Shall Know Ourselves”; and Smith’s “Retrospect.” Images and excerpts from the book can be viewed at

The exhibition of the same name is curated by Michael Panhorst of the Montgomery Museum of Fine Arts, where it runs from June 14 through September 21. It then travels to the Hickory Museum of Art, Hickory, North Carolina, where it will be shown from October 4, 2014 through January 4, 2015; the University of West Alabama, Livingston, Alabama, January 24, 2015 through April 5, 2015; the Museum of Contemporary Art, Jacksonville, Florida, April 25 through August 23, 2015; and finally to the Georgia Museum of Art, University of Georgia, Athens, October 25, 2015 through January 3, 2016.

Raymond Smith was born in Newark, New Jersey, in 1942. He received his B.A. in American Studies from Stetson University in DeLand, Florida and was awarded a Woodrow Wilson Foundation Fellowship to attend Yale University, where he received his M.A. and M.Phil. degrees, also in American Studies. Smith’s photographs have appeared in The Chicago Review; New America (University of New Mexico); The Yale Photographic Review; and Southern Cultures (University of North Carolina). His writings on art, photography, and American literature have appeared in The American Art Review; Art Documentation; Art New England; The Yale Photographic Review; and Studies in the Literary Imagination (Georgia State University). As R.W. Smith Bookseller in New Haven, Connecticut, he has specialized since 1975 in rare and out-of-print books on art, architecture, design, and photography. He has been a member of the Art Libraries Society of North America since 1980. This is his first book.

In Time We Shall Know Ourselves is part of the unprecedented Rediscovered Masters series curated by art historian and art reference publisher Peter Hastings Falk. In 2013 Smith was nominated and then elected by the Art Advisory Board of Rediscovered Masters — which is composed of distinguished museum directors, curators, historians, dealers, and critics.

Press Inquiries and Ordering information:
Peter Hastings Falk, Publisher
P. O. Box 833
Madison, CT 06443

Book stats:
In Time We Shall Know Ourselves by Raymond W. Smith.
144 pp, 9 x 12 inch case bound, including dust jacket (2014), featuring 52 duotone photographs.
ISBN: 0-932087-64-7 EAN: 978-0-932087-64-5
$49.00 (plus $5 shipping via USPS)
[Connecticut residents are subject to the state sales tax of 6.35% ($3.11), except for tax exempt institutions and booksellers with a resale number.]