What makes a good picture? Of course there are obvious things, lighting, composition, attention to detail. But there’s something intangible that’s far more important. It makes the difference between a good picture and a great one, one that takes your breath away, catches you off-guard, or makes you smile at the humanity of it. It’s what Cynthia Smalley brings to her work that sets it apart. Perhaps this is because she is genuinely interested in the people she photographs, not just what they look like, but who they are, their passions, their families, what makes them tick, It’s her own authenticity that create a space in which her subjects can relax completely, enjoy the experience and share who they are. Her photographs resonate with their own truthfulness. As a photographer, Cynthia engages with a giggly little girl, an experienced model, or a well-traveled political dignitary with an ease that makes some kind of home for each, in which they can be fully present. One of the first things you notice about her work is the presence of those she’s captured – honest, open, sometimes raw, and very real. Clearly, Cynthia loves what she does as she easily encourages a style of communication which invites her models to smile through the camera, not at it. She makes it so easy to express yourself, the camera is simply a witness.