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Ming Smith
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.

Selected Solo Exhibitions

Ming Smith: Works from the Paul R. Jones Collection, The University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Ming: Photographs: 1977-2008, June Kelly Gallery, New York

Celebration Life: Photography as Fine Art, Pounder-Kone Art Space, Atwater Village, CA

Ming Smith: Ming's Room, curated by Deborah Willis, Rush Arts Gallery, New York

Ming Smith: In the Spirit: Invisible Woman, African American Museum in Philadelphia, PA

In the Spirit of Jazz, Ming Smith: 30 Year Retrospective, Concourse Gallery, Upper Arlington, OH

Ming Smith: In the Spirit of Jazz, Tribes Gallery, New York

Ming's Room, Porter Troupe Gallery, San Diego, CA

Ming, Watt's Tower Art Center, Los Angeles, CA

Ming Smith: in a Minor Key, Crawford and Sloan Gallery, New York

Ming Smith, Eric Turner Salon, New York

Selected Group Exhibitions
Photography Classics: NL=US Art, 1977-2008, Schiedamsedijk 51 | Schilderstraat 5, 3011 ER Rotterdam, NL

An Eye forJazz: Featuring Hugh Bell, Jill Freedman, Ming Smith, Ken Van Sickle, Curated by Yulia Tikhonova, Tikhonova & Winter Fine Art, New York, NY

Pictures by Women: A History of Modern Photography, organized by Roxana Marcoci, Curator, Sarah Meister, Curator; and Eva Respini, Associate Curator, Department of Photography, The Museum of Modem Art, New York; catalogue

Kamoinge Photographers Group Show: In the Moment, HP Gallery, Calumet Photo, New York

Sound: Print: Record: African American, curated by Julie McGee, Mechanical Hall, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

New York City: In Focus, Bellevue Hospital Center Atrium, New York 16th Annual Exhibition: Creative Destinations 2008 Exhibition of African American Art, Art in the Atrium, Morristown, NJ

BLACK and White on Black, Photographic Gallery, New York Contemporary Afro-American Photography, Hilliard University Art Museum, Lafayette,

Kamoinge Inc: Black Music from Bebop to Hip Hop, co-curated by Danny Simmons and Mark Blackshear, Brooklyn Academy of Music

Harlem Photographers Present Images Dating Back to the Civil Rights Movement, Columbia College, Chicago, IL

Contemporary Afro-American Photography, Spelman College Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA

A Century of African American Art: The Paul R Jones Collection, University Museum, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Generations: An Exhibit of African American Art, curated by Russell A. Murray, Art in the Atrium, Morristown, NJ

Original Acts: Photographs of African-American Performers from the Paul R. Jones Collection, curated by Amalia Amaki, University of Delaware, Newark, DE

Life of the City, An Exhibition in Answer to 2001, Museum of Modem Art, New York

Reflections In Black: A History of Black Photographers 1840 to the Present, organized by the Anacostia Museum and Center for African American Identity and Culture, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; traveling exhibition; catalogue

MOMA2000, organized by Peter Galassi, Museum of Modem Art, New York

Black New York Photographers of the Twentieth Century: Selections from the Schomburg Center Collections, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York

Cultural Images: Sweet Potato Pie, curated by Russell A. Murray, Art in the Atrium, Morristown, NJ

Ming Smith, Anthony Barboza, Adger W Cowans, Robert Hale and Deborah Willis, Cathedral of Saint John the Divine, New York

14 Photographers, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, New York; catalogue

Contemporary Afro-American Photography, Allen Memorial Art Museum, Oberlin College, OH

Artists Who Do Other Art Forms, Just Above Midtown Gallery, New York

Self-Portrait, Studio Museum of Harlem, New York, traveled to the Springfield Museum of Fine Arts, MA; catalogue

Exposure: Work by Ten Photographers, Creative Artists Public Service Program, New York

18 Caps Photographers, Columbia University, NY

Kamoinge group show, International Center of Photography, New York

Kamoinge group show, The Studio Museum in Harlem, New York

Kamoinge group show, Guyana, South America