Behind the Lens with Matthew Patrick Smyth

October 8, 2020

Photography has been a creative outlet for designer Matthew Patrick Smyth since his salad days in Goshen, New York, and through the years has become an inspirational lens through which he dreams up his wonderfully layered interiors. Shots from Smyth’s trips around the globe are scattered throughout his new book Through a Designer’s Eye, so we thought we’d ask this decorating shutterbug to share the stories behind a few of his favorites.




“What were the odds that in Amsterdam—a city of black and grey—a woman in red on a red bike would be waiting at a red light? I came out of my hotel and saw her in the mist coming my way and hoped the green light would change and slow her down so I could get my iPhone out. I had only seconds to get this shot.”

Southern France

“I pulled over to take this shot while driving at sunset through the Camargue region in southern France. The combination of the setting sun and white horses—especially the curious one who looked back at me—all added up to one of my favorite images.”


“One of my favorite trips of all time was when I drove around Sicily and visited Greek ruins like the Temple of Hera Lacinia. It’s one of several in the ancient city of Agrigenturn in the Valle Templi and was built about 450 BC in the Archaic Doric style of the period. I look forward to going back someday.”

Cooperstown, New York

“Hyde Hall is a neo-classical country house outside of Cooperstown NY built between 1817 and 1834. It is a National Historic Landmark and now open to the public. Every summer I try to go to the Glimmerglass Opera in Cooperstown and stopping by Hyde Hall has turned into a ritual. This room was in the process of being restored and the perfect light at that moment enabled me to capture the beauty of the faded wall color and handsome architecture.”


“Visiting Fountainbleu just outside of Paris is one my favorite ways to spend the day. There are so many grand rooms and fine detailing, but this space I actually came across by accident. It may have been a service entrance under the main staircase, but I was attracted to the simple yet elegant architecture and how the statue stood out in contrast to the bare stone walls. It was a nice juxtaposition to the amazing grandeur upstairs.”

Longboat Key, Florida

“This shot is one of my favorites. After installing a project in Longboat Key, Florida, I took a long walk on the beach before my plane back to New York and came across the scene of a father and son fishing off the pier. It was a quiet moment, yet it said so much to me.”