This is me, just standing at a window contemplating stuff!     Image credit: Kristen Cook

This is me, just standing at a window contemplating stuff!     Image credit: Kristen Cook


Thanks for stopping by, its so lovely to have you here! My name is Ali and I am the creative behind Smith + Archer.

I am a former research scientist and science teacher, turned photographer! Books were such a huge part of my childhood as there was not much to do where I grew up in rural Victoria, so reading was my means of escaping! I was the kid of kid who sneakily read using torchlight late at night, until I was sprung by my mum and soundly told off! With stories being such an important  part of me, I have always harboured the thought that I would one day be a storyteller. Whilst I am good with words, a novel has always been beyond me. But when I picked up a camera and started taking pictures I realised that my novel lies not in words but the images I capture with my camera.  I am a storyteller who takes photos. The name Smith & Archer is derived from my two favourite story tellers when I was a teenager; Wilbur Smith and Jeffrey Archer (not a terribly highbrow or typical choices for a female I know, but I have always done things my own way).

I LOVE my husband & kids (most of the time), good quality coffee (all of the time), getting lost in a book, ALL the things at Aesop, op shopping,  flamingos, everything vintage & retro, watching Amelie over & over,  colourful socks, anything Danish designed,  skirts and dresses with pockets in them (when I have to wear something other than my jeans), chocolate coated almonds,  geometric patterns (shout out to spots and stripes in particular), reality tv, cheese and drinking too much champagne with my friends. Oh and hot chips are pretty awesome too! I feel that I should also mention that I am a chronic over user of exclamation points (but I will refrain from using one right now).

I am completely awkward in front of a camera and I avoid having my photo taken if I can. I do that because I feel completely vulnerable and that all of my flaws are somehow emphasised in the resulting photos. But I am realising that it is mostly just in my head and that people see me in a completely different light to the way I see myself! So I totally understand where you are coming from if you don't feel  comfortable in front of the camera either. But while I hate having my own photo taken (I'm working on that, I need to up my selfie game!) I LOVE taking photos of other people, its an interesting dichotomy I know.

Real people, beautiful spaces and gorgeous light make my heart sing. I am drawn to people who love fiercely. People who are kind. People who marvel how incredible nature is, and have a a deep affection for David Attenborough (okay, that last bit might just be me!). People who are a bit sweary and a bit quirky. People who dare to dream and make shit happen. People who believe in quality over quantity.  People who write their own rules. People who celebrate that life is messy and busy and imperfect and challenging and beautiful and amazing all at the same time. Those are my people.

My photography style lies somewhere between lifestyle and documentary. I aim to capture realness. Whether that is the profound love you have for each other or the fact that your headstrong daughter makes what others would generously call "interesting fashion choices" or the fact that your baby is simply over tired or hungry and is having a bit of a cry (seriously, crying baby photos are the CUTEST). It is all real, chaotic and imperfectly perfect. More importantly this produces the kind of photos that make you FEEL all of the feels.  You will not find me taking photos of families that are all wearing matching outfits and looking at the camera with fake smiles. That isn't real to me. That isn't my style.

 "Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we're all in this together"
      - Brene Brown

So lets be awkward, vulnerable, honest, messy, imperfect and REAL together. And together we will capture your story.