Born Detroit, MI
Lives and works in New York City
Education: B.S., Howard University, Washington, DC
Ming Smith is known for her informal, in-action portraits of black cultural figures, from Alvin Ailey to Nina Simone and a wide range of jazz musicians. Ming’s career emerged formally with the publication of the Black Photographer’s Annual in 1973. She was an early member of the Kamoinge Workshop, an association of several generations of black photographers. Ming has traveled extensively, showing her viewers a cosmopolitan world filled with famous landmarks and extraordinary landscapes. People continue to be her most treasured subjects. This is most apparent in her series depicting African American life.
Ming’s early style was to shoot fast and produce complicated and elaborate images in the developing and post-printing processes, so that many of her pictures carry double dates. She experimented with hand-tinting in “My Father’s Tears, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico” (1977/1979). Ming continues to expand the role of photography with her exploration of image and paint in the more recent, large-scale Transcendence series. Ming’s place in photography’s 175-year history was recognized by her inclusion in the Museum of Modern Art’s groundbreaking exhibition Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography in 2010.
Ming Smith's photography is held in collections in the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum & Center for African American History and Culture, Washington, DC and the AT&T Corporation.
EXHIBITION: MING SMITH IN "WE WANTED A REVOLUTION: BLACK RADICAL WOMEN, 1965–85" AT THE BROOKLYN MUSEUM
APRIL 21ST - SEPTEMBER 17TH, 2017
Focusing on the work of black women artists, We Wanted a Revolution: Black Radical Women, 1965–85 examines the political, social, cultural, and aesthetic priorities of women of color during the emergence of second-wave feminism. It is the first exhibition to highlight the voices and experiences of women of color—distinct from the primarily white, middle-class mainstream feminist movement—in order to reorient conversations around race, feminism, political action, art production, and art history in this significant historical period.
EXHIBITION: MING SMITH AND LOUIS DRAPER - THE BLACK PHOTOGRAPHERS ANNUAL, THE VIRGINIA MUSEUM OF FINE ARTS
FEBRUARY 16TH - OCTOBER 3RD, 2017
In 1973, a group of African American photographers in New York City published the first volume of The Black Photographers Annual. This exhibition is the first of four rotations that explore each of the four volumes of The Black Photographers Annual, which ended in 1980. The first installation features 20 photographers, including; Anthony Barboza, Roy DeCarava, Louis Draper, LeRoy Henderson, Beauford Smith, Ming Smith, and Shawn Walker. Curated by Dr. Sarah Eckhardt, Associate Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art.
ART FAIR: RUDDY ROYE, MING SMITH, AND LOU DRAPER IN KAMOINGE EXHIBIT AT PHOTOVILLE
SEPTEMBER 21 – 25, 2016
Photographs by gallery artists Ruddy Roye, Ming Smith, and Louis Draper are on display at Photoville from September 21-25 with Kamoinge Inc.
APERTURE ON MING SMITH - 05/11/2017
Aperture's Jessica Lynne interviews the curators of The Brooklyn Museum exhibition, We Wanted a Revolution: Radical Black Women, 1965-85, featuring Ming Smith.
APERTURE ON MING SMITH - FEBRUARY 6, 2017
PHOTOGRAPH MAGAZINE ON MING SMITH - FEBRUARY 6, 2017
HYPERALLERGIC ON MING SMITH - JANUARY 29, 2017
John Yau praised our Ming Smith exhibition, stating that "the rich and varied evocation of passing moments, memories, and dreams that we encounter in Smith’s photographs are things that the incoming President will continue to denigrate and do his best to erase. We cannot let him."
ART FORUM ON MING SMITH - JANUARY 27, 2017
CRAVE ON MING SMITH - JANUARY 18, 2016
THE NEW YORK POST ON MING SMITH - JANUARY 13, 2017
Raquel Laneri interviews Ming Smith and talks about how she "changed the way America sees Black people"
THE NEW YORK TIMES ON MING SMITH - JANUARY 11, 2017
Maurice Berger claims that Ming Smith’s photographs are at once spontaneous, personal and quivering with visual surprise.
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