Ming Smith

Jenkins Johnson Gallery, San Francisco and New York (JAM6)

Ming Smith, Red Hot Jazz Europe, 1982. Courtesy: Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York

Ming Smith, Red Hot Jazz Europe, 1982. Courtesy: Jenkins Johnson Gallery, New York

Ming Smith (born Detroit; lives and works in New York City).

As a photographer Ming Smith, documents everyday moments through her ethereal and transcendent works. Her work challenges any limiting notion of what African-American photography should look like. Combining a deliberate blurriness with experimental post-production techniques Smith’s work includes double exposed prints, collage, and painting, which amplify her photographs dream-like qualities.

Ming Smith’s works of the 1970s and 1980s, capture the impressions of her world with intimacy and wonder. Smith responds to the struggles of city living, while also celebrating the community and pride produced by it. Taking her camera with her as she traveled the world with her husband, jazz musician David Murray, these images are a chronicle of her discerning eye. Smith intermingles the resplendent and the magical with the trials of everyday life. Artistic, literary, and musical icons are found alongside anonymous lovers and neighborhood children. Through her own visual language of light and shade, fleeting moments are made timeless.

Ming Smith, born in Detroit, Michigan and raised in Columbus, Ohio is a graduate of Howard University. She was the first black female photographer collected by the Museum of Modern Art, the first female member of Kamoinge, and one of the first African American women to break the color barrier in modeling alongside Grace Jones. Smith’s work is in museum collections including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Smithsonian Museum, and the Schomburg Center.