In 1979, The Museum of Modern Art, (MoMA) purchased photographs from an African-American woman for the first time in its history.
Ming Smith was famous for capturing her subjects with slow shutter speeds and using oil paints to layer colour onto her black and white photos.
She worked as a model in New York in the 1970s, while pursuing her passion for photography and was friends with Grace Jones.
Ming took a powerful image of Grace performing at the iconic Studio 54 nightclub in 1978 after meeting her at an audition.
Ming was also a backing dancer in Tina Turner’s music video for What’s Love Got to Do with It, where she captured Tina glancing away from the camera, in front of Brooklyn Bridge wearing a leather skirt, denim jacket and patent stilettos with huge spiky hair.
Ming speaks to Reena Stanton-Sharma about graduating with a degree in microbiology, modelling and struggling to make a living, and then becoming a famous photographer with a retrospective at MoMA in 2023.
(Photo: Tina Turner, What’s Love Got to Do with It. Credit: Ming Smith)