Photographer Michael P. Smith (1937–2008) captured the heart and soul of New Orleans’s music, culture, and folkways. He documented the physical and social structures that helped shape the unique cultural identity of his native New Orleans. In 2007, The Collection acquired Smith’s body of work, ensuring both its long-term preservation and ultimate public access.
"In the Spirit: The Photography of Michael P. Smith from The Historic New Orleans Collection" marks the inaugural public presentation of the Michael P. Smith Archive from The Historic New Orleans Collection. The exhibition includes unique displays at The Collection and the Contemporary Arts Center.
From 1970 until his retirement in 2004, Michael P. Smith documented the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. The CAC’s display of Smith’s work, Twenty-Five Jazz Fests, offers a glimpse into this aspect of his career. Viewers will see iconic images of national musicians such as Willie Nelson, Bonnie Raitt, and Chuck Berry as well as Louisiana legends like Professor Longhair, Dr. John, and Irma Thomas.
CAC’s display of Smith’s material is funded under a grant from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities, the state affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities. The exhibition is also made possible by the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation, Inc.
April 17–July 12, 2009
Contemporary Arts Center, 900 Camp Street
Gallery Hours: Thursday–Sunday, 11:00 a.m.–4:00 p.m.
Free and open to the public.