Jan Smith

Born in 1974 in Mexico. Lives and works in Mexico City and São Paulo, Brazil.

View Smith’s extended portfolio on The Photographers Gallery ZA

Jan Smith’s photography explores the realm of the abandoned space, obscure and forgotten places, the modern day man-made ruins scattered across the globe. Carefully crafted and composed, Smith’s evocative images invite investigation and exploration. He has produced photographic series on Kolmanskop, Namibia; Hashima Island, Japan; Pripyat, Ukraine and Fukushima, Japan.

In 2008 he captured images of the world’s largest ship graveyard that lies abandoned in Noaudhibou Bay along the coast of Mauritania. This series, entitled Nouadhibou, has received great international acclaim and has enjoyed showings all over the globe.

Smith has recently added the genre of black and white street photography to his oeuvre with great success.


Cape Town Art Fair, South Africa, 2015
Co-Existence, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town 2014
Crossing the Divide, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town 2013
Joburg Art Fair, Johannesburg 2013
The Long Goodbye (Short Essays of Decay), Dali International Photography Exhibition, China 2013
La Comedia, Urbana Espacio Alianza Francesa, Mexico 2013
Nuclear Disaster Stories, Erdmann Contemporary, Cape Town 2012
Tours de Cesio, Galeria Eudardo Fernandes, Sao Paolo 2012
Behind the Atom, Curtain Museum of Modern Art, Rio de Janeiro 2012
Collective, Espacio Mayo Viedro, Mexico 2012
Sustainable Future, Fountain Art Fair, Miami 2012
Desiertos - Historias Urbanas, Espacio Alianza Frencesa, Mexico 2011
Nouadhibou, Keller William Space, Miami 2010
Nouadhibou, Galeria Mesa Fine Art, Dominican Republic 2010
Ausencia y Abandono, Galeria Eduardo Fernandes, Sao Paolo 2010
Gunkanjima, Patio de la Fototeca, Zacatecas 2010
Gunkanjima, Galeria Bateau Mouche, Toluca 2010
Gunkanjima, Galeria lbero, Puebla 2010
Zihuatlali, Casa Francia, Mexico 2010
Fotodialogo, Museu de Arte Contemporanea de Campnas, Brazil 2010
Mexico Vivo, Museum of Modern Art, Mexico 2010
Japon 400 Anos, Espacio Epson, Mexico 2010
Gunkanjima, Espacio Cultural Japon, Mexico D.F. 2009
Pop, Density 5km/km2, Galeria Nina Menocal, Mexico 2009
Collective, Burn Gallery, New York 2009
Collective PX3, Sema Topaloglu Studio, Istanbul 2009
Collective PX3, Espace Dupon, Paris 2009
Nouadhibou, Galeria Piso 51, Mexico 2008
Ausencia y Abandano, Galeria Uno, Mexico 2007
Collective, Atelier Art Gallery, Miami 2007

Published Articles and Catalogues

Interview with Jan Smith in The Metropolitist.
Review of Nuclear Disaster Stories on OrmsConnect.
Article on Nouadhibou in Good Magazine Online.
Nouadhibou E-Book


Finalist, Photography Biennale, Mexico 2012
Winner, Jury Merit Award, Grand Prix de la Decouverte 2012
Winner, Best Exhibition for Nouadhibou, PhotoImagen Caribe 2010
Merit of Excellence, Colour Magazine 2009
First place, Fine Art Book Proposal 2009
First place, International Photography Awards, People 2007
Second place, International Photography Awards, Aerial 2007
Honorable Mention, International Colour Photography Awards 2007
Honour of Distinction, Black and White Spider Awards 2007