Micaiah Carter’s new exhibition mixes fashion shots with personal stories

The photographer’s first solo outing, at New York gallery SN37, brings together fashion commissions, personal projects and family portraits

Based between Brooklyn and LA, photographer Micaiah Carter has earned his stripes as an in-demand fashion image-maker and photographer to the stars, among them 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 Black image-making.

His first solo exhibition, named American Black Beauty, brings together his fashion photography and serene portraiture, all filtered through an autobiographical lens. According to SN37, the New York gallery playing host to the exhibition, it is about identifying beauty within himself and how he is represented.

Family is a prominent theme in the exhibition. Young family members figure in tranquil portraits, which Carter sits in dialogue with his high fashion images – a gesture to make children, like his niece, feel represented.

Yet it is as much about past generations, particularly the photographer’s late father, who died last year. Carter’s photography practice had been profoundly influenced by his father, with his personal project 95/48 (alluding to their respective birth years) bringing together his father’s archive photographs alongside Carter’s own original body of work.

“I wanted to create a language that talks about our experiences being Black men in America at the same age, but in different decades,” he told CR back in 2019, when he was named one of our Zeitgeist photographers that year.

The loss of his father is described as being the impetus to much of his recent work, with Carter using photography as a way of reconnecting with family and creating uplifting moments amid grief. The exhibition includes home videos and private photos, giving an intimate window into his personal family history. Writing on Instagram, he commented: “This new work was pivotal in my grieving process by reconnecting with my family and the simplicity of my inner child.”

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