ART VINTAGE | PHOTOGRAPHY BY MING SMITH

Ming Smith is an American photographer. She was the first African-American female photographer whose work was acquired by the Museum Of Modern Art in New York City. Smith was born in 1947, in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Columbus, Ohio. After graduating from Howard University in 1973, she moved to New York City, where she found work modeling. While in New York she met photographer Anthony Barboza, who was an early influence.

Smith’s approach to photography has included in-camera techniques such as playing with focus, darkroom techniques like double exposure, collage techniques and paint on prints. Her work is less engaged with documentation of events than with expression of experience. It has been described as surreal and ethereal, as the New York Times observed: “Her work, personal and expressive, draws from a number of artistic sources, preeminently surrealism.

Invisible Man, Ming Smith, 1998
Amen Corner Sisters, Harlem, New York,
Ming Smith, 1976
Cicatrice Cosmetique, Gambela, Ethiopia, Ming Smith, 1973

She has employed a range of surrealist techniques: photographing her subjects from oblique angles, shooting out of focus or through such atmospheric effects as fog and shadow, playing on unusual juxtapositions, even altering or painting over prints.” Smith’s early work was composed of photos that were shot quickly to produce elaborate scenes, and due to this process many of her photos have double dates. She has used the technique of hand-tinting in some of her work, notably her Transcendence series.

Smith’s art has been featured at the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA), the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

Cover Image: America Seen Through Stars and Stripes, New York City, New York Painted, Ming Smith, 1976

This is a part of the Wikipedia article used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA).

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