Ming Smith’s Pioneering Excavations of Black Femininity

“Grace Jones, Studio 54,” New York, 1970s.

Writer Yxta Maya Murray charts the life of Ming Smith in this thoughtful The New Yorker essay. As one of the few Black female photographers to begin working in the 1970s, Smith made it her mission to capture the lives of Black women with beauty, dignity, and complexity.

“Smith photographed many famous Black cultural figures in the course of her career, and her images of Black women communicate the resilience and vigor necessary to flourish in the face of society’s exclusions.”