A new photography exhibit coming to the Seaport District is taking a personal look at how beauty and representation is presented in the photographer’s life.
Photographer Micaiah Carter has been taking photos from the time he was young. He was originally inspired to pick up a camera in his younger days in California, being particularly inspired by his father and by the earlier days of Tumblr.
“It was two things. My dad really was a visual person and kind of a nerd. Also, Tumblr,” said Carter. “I think coming from California, I lived in a really small city, I just never saw a lot of art. Tumblr was the first place I saw the work of photographers and got to understand fashion sense, rather than just looking at photos in textbooks and stuff.”
Carter has since built up an impressive portfolio of fashion photography, photographing for clients such as Vanity Fair, Vogue, Nike, and Puma, just to name a few, in addition to his own collection of personal work and directorial work in film. For the first time ever, Carter is hosting his own solo show of his work at the SN37 Gallery in the Seaport District.
“It’s my first solo show, it’s a bit daunting, I’m excited but I’m releasing a baby, releasing to the world,” said Carter. “It’s finally going to be out, but I’m a little protective over it.”
Entitled “American Black Beauty,” the exhibition will include a wide array of Carter’s work, including a lot of his fashion photography and film work. Additionally, the exhibition will include archived photos of his father, who died of prostate cancer last year, as well as home movies from his family to show how his father has been a consistent supporter of his work.
“It’s just different parts of me, and I think for this show, I wanted it to feel like you’re exploring those parts of myself,” said Carter. “I wanted to feel proud. It’s a continuation of what I’m doing today. I wanted to give a taste of different elements I deal with.”
The exhibition will also feature work from his personal portfolio, a highlight of which is portraits of Black children and their families. While Carter says that photographing children served as a vehicle for joy and optimism while processing his grief over his father’s death, he hopes that young Black children can feel represented in the mainstream on both sides of the camera by seeing these photos of Black kids alongside high fashion imagery.
“I think by opening that page, I’m really making sure Blackness isn’t seen as one dimensional,” said Carter. “It can expand through generations of uniqueness and creativity, strength and indurances.”
Carter hopes that those who come and check out “American Black Beauty” will feel a sense of home when they take a look at his work.
“The nostalgia, really. I want people to feel like they are home, to feel like they can connect deeply with things presented throughout the photos,” said Carter. “I just want people to take away a sense of home.”
“American Black Beauty” will be on display from Feb. 11 through March 27. The SN37 Gallery is located at 204 Front Street, The Seaport and open from 12 to 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. For more information about Carter and his work, visit micaiahcarter.com.