Lynn Schmidt was born in 1958 at Andrews AFB, Maryland. Graduating from the University of Georgia in 1980, her artistic focus was on drawing and painting. Of photography she held the belief that “any monkey can hold a camera in their face and take a picture,” until she was pushed into the medium by her first employer. Enrolling in a photography class at the Atlanta College of Art, she gained a new appreciation for the camera and the tactile qualities it could capture. Schmidt returned to the University of Georgia in 1981 to earn an MA with work focusing on traditional hand-coloring techniques. She would continue to work exclusively in black-and-white photography until 1997 with the purchase of her first digital camera.
Moving out of the darkroom opened the doors to entirely new approaches and ways of conceptualizing for Schmidt. Experiments in layering images, both digitally and physically, allowed her to access expanded textural possibilities. Despite this, the limits of the photograph increasingly frustrated Schmidt, leading her to reincorporate traditional two-dimensional media into her assemblages. Focusing on the vibrant interplay of compilations rather than isolated stagnant images, she chose photographs as a painter chooses tubes of paint, compositing images to match her fantastical interpretation of the world, equal parts humorous and macabre.
In 2015, Schmidt enrolled at Savannah College of Art and Design to pursue an MFA with an interested towards photographs as illustrations for stories. Again she found her composite style increasingly constricting, so Schmidt turned to her earliest source of fascination with narrative, the imaginative play of childhood. When focused through the lens of her adult angst, she transformed doll house sets and paper figures into deeply disturbing allegories about the isolation and absurdity of contemporary society. Her Southern Dolls series turns the nostalgic feelings of the past on their head, warning of the darkness behind a paper smile.