Margaret van Bulck Smith is an award-winning fine-art nature photographer with a career spanning academia, photography, public accounting, and economics. She conducts photography workshops and is an adjunct instructor at the University of South Carolina. Her photographs and essays have been published regionally and nationally. Her work has won regional, national and international awards and has been exhibited in a wide variety of venues. Smith most especially enjoys photographing wildlife in their natural habitat. She particularly enjoys photographing grizzlies, wolves, wild mustangs, and animals near water.
Some of her current work involves printing large-scale (40" x 60") images of water reflections on paired layers of silk charmeuse and silk chiffon with acid- dye inks. She also works with encaustic to create tactile images of intimate ocean encounters and enjoys printing on metal and metal leaf, working with Van Dyke Brown, image transfers and various other alternative processes.
Smith completed her Masters of Fine Art (MFA) in photography at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. She is originally from Sumter, South Carolina. She now resides in Bishopville, SC. She is married to Martin Smith, a retired principal from Florence, SC. She has two grown children, Marc and Sydney van Bulck.
"I have been drawn to water for as long as I can remember. It is all around us. It is in the air we breathe, under the ground where we walk, it is in the oceans, lakes, swamps, and marshes.
For thousands of years, people have believed in the healing powers of water. In times of pain, be it physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, many of us find ourselves drawn to water.
Our lives are filled with changes, some positive and some so devastating that they become life altering. My water colors project was born out of just such a cataclysmic time in my life. It was then that I discovered the impact my proximity to water has on my wellbeing. It may not be true for everyone, but a part of me needs to be close to water to maintain my sanity. This work is a series of fine art, form-based photographs of reflections in water. This series is firmly rooted in abstract landscape photography, with linguistic elements of movement, color, and light that are captured as they affect the appearance of the water.
Water is, by definition, fluid. It moves constantly. The reflections that I find in water change from instant to instant. It is this movement that has encouraged me to seek a medium of presentation that accentuates this characteristic.. The layering of the silks provides a three-dimensional look at the water reflections, as one would look into and through the water as it reflects the natural world."