Jamie Smith is the co-founder and operator of Social Fabric Collective in Wyoming. He opened the business with his wife, Jenni. He is a native of California, a graduate of UC Santa Barbara, and has lived in Northeast Pennsylvania for the past five years. He and Jenni have two children; Eva, 6, and Charlotte, 4. They live in Wyoming.
Meet Jamie Smith ….

Tell us a little about Social Fabric Collective and the work that you do. 
I can tell you our mission statement: “We’re a nonprofit organization that provides professional photography equipment, education and inspiration to high school students who are as diverse as they are dynamic. Through teaching high schoolers’ the art and discipline of digital photography, we inspire young people to take hold of their ability to transform themselves and the world.” We’re about personal growth and personal transformation in the individual, and how to use photography as a tool to help them grow. It’s also about self-awareness, and helping them realize how they can improve their community.

What is the criteria for a student to go through one of your programs?
We have a need-based scholarship, regardless of your ability to pay. Essentially, we figured out that the average income for a family of four in this area is $35,000 or less, so if your family makes that, it’s a full scholarship. Between $35,000 and $75,000, it’s a mid-level scholarship, which is $250. And $75,000 and up, it’s $500. They’re all working with the exact same camera and the exact same equipment. The program is for about four months, once a week, and within that there are a bunch of optional things, such as field trips and photoshoots.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Woodturning. I work on a lathe. I like to create.

Favorite music?
Jazz and reggae.

Favorite city?
New York. I worked there. I lived there. My daughter was born there. My mom was born there.

Favorite vacation spot?
California beaches.

Favorite thing about NEPA?
The river.

All-time favorite movie?
“Field of Dreams.”

All-time favorite TV show?

Favorite food?

Favorite holiday?
Valentine’s Day.

Favorite quote or catchphrase?
“It’s not enough for an artist to see. They have to make others see.” — Edgar Degas

Biggest pet peeve?
There’s a lot of pressure for people to be specialized, and so there’s less a chance for people to be interested in a variety of things.

Favorite book or author?
“When Breath Becomes Air” by Paul Kalanithi.

Have you had someone in your life that has helped shape you into the person you are today?
My grandmother. She passed away in 1995, when I was a freshman in college, but up until that point, she lived by herself. My grandfather died before I was born, so I didn’t know him. But we’d come out every summer and stay with her. She lived by herself, she still cooked on a coal stove, she still drove herself. We had chickens. We went to church bazaars. We had chores. But we were also given a lot of freedom. She had a big influence.

UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at alankstout@comcast.net.


Photos by Emma Black