Micaiah Carter opens her first solo photography exhibition

Based between Brooklyn and Los Angeles, photographer Micaiah Carter has earned his stripes as a fashion image maker and photographer for stars including Pharrell Williams, Selena Gomez, Megan Thee Stallion, Ben Affleck and Naomi Osaka. He is also a founding member of See in Black, a collective dedicated to advancing the creation of black images.

Her first solo exhibition, titled American Black Beauty, brings together her fashion photography and serene portraiture, all filtered through an autobiographical lens. According to SN37, the New York gallery hosting the exhibition, it’s about identifying beauty in itself and how it is represented.

The family is a major theme of the exhibition. The younger members of the family feature in quiet portraits, which Carter brings into dialogue with her high fashion imagery – a move to make children, like her niece, feel represented.

Yet it’s just as much about past generations, especially the photographer’s late father, who died last year. Carter’s photographic practice had been deeply influenced by his father, with his personal project 95/48 (alluding to their respective birth years) bringing together his father’s archival photographs alongside Carter’s original work.

“I wanted to create language that speaks to our experiences as black men in America at the same age, but different decades,” he told CR in 2019, when he was named one of our Zeitgeist photographers that year.

The loss of her father is described as driving much of her recent work, with Carter using photography as a way to reconnect with her family and create uplifting moments in the midst of grief. The exhibit includes home videos and private photos, giving an intimate window into his personal family history. Writing on Instagram, he commented: “This new work has been pivotal in my grieving process in reconnecting with my family and the simplicity of my inner child.”

American Black Beauty Vol. 1 is on display at SN37 Gallery, New York until March 27; micaiahcarter.com

Tracey L. Sweeney