Most people who visit or live in Franklin recognize the beauty of the ever-growing Tennessee town. The architecture of the old buildings, the streetscape of the downtown and the iconic Main Street paint an almost Norman Rockwell-esque image of small-town Americana.
Realizing that imagery through the lens of her camera, Debbie Smartt, a Franklin, Tennessee based photographer, started capturing those iconic scenes.
“To me, Franklin has a magical quality,” Smartt says in her smooth southern drawl. “Everywhere I look, there is something that makes me smile. I kind of compare it to a kid at Christmas.”
Smartt’s says her most iconic shot is titled, “Snow on Main,” which features a couple, walking arm in arm down the middle of an iced over Main Street. The image has a giclee, washed over effect, created in post-production with a timeless feel to it.
“I love photographing the square and Main Street,” Smartt says. “I love all the colors of the historic buildings and the sunsets here are amazing. I always say that I am a collector of moments.”
Smartt received her first camera, a Kodak Instamatic, at 10 years of age. Her next was a Polaroid 1000 Land Camera.
“I thought it was magic that the picture came right out,” she says. “My grandfather, Jim Pate, was an avid, amateur photographer, so I think it’s in the DNA. I have always been creative and loved to take artsy photos. I got more serious about it when my kids were born.”
In 1997 Smartt got a job as a photographer and photo editor for the United States Postal Service.
“For four-years I got to travel all over the state making photos of interesting people and places,” she says. “I used to not leave the house without my camera, but since cell phone cameras have improved so much, it is my go-to if I don’t want to take my Sony A7 along.
She now works as the brand manager for Our Thrift Store in Franklin and shoots pictures on her days off.
Smart is also a family historian, and says her 5th great-grandfather, William G. Boyd, was one of five commissioners who laid out the streets of Franklin in 1798. Her knowledge as a family historian is being used in additional projects.
“I am honored to be currently transcribing a book or books for the family of the late Virginia Bowman who was a Williamson County historian,” she says.
If you visit or have visited the Heritage Foundation office in the Old, Old Jail, Smartt’s art decorates the board/meeting room. Also, look for a 2019 calendar from the Heritage Foundation which will feature 10 of her photos.
Her work also decorates the executive suites of Williamson Medical Center.
To follow along with Smartt’s adventures, visit her on Instagram @SmarttImages and her family history on Instagram @Links_To_Their_Life.
Will Jordan is a Franklin native and the owner of Kimbro’s Pickin’ Parlor, a music venue and restaurant in downtown Franklin. He also owns Carpe Diem, located directly next door which offers professional photography session bookings, eclectic vendors and the largest selection of vinyl in Williamson County.