Monday, September 29, 2008

Michael P. Smith

Photographer Michael P. Smith passed away Wednesday [Sorry - Friday]. Smith documented in black and white photography New Orleans music-based cultural practices in pictures that accorded dignity and vitality to Mardi Gras Indians, second line paraders, jazz funeral marchers, gospel singers and musicians. His photos record the early days of Jazz Fest, and they've presented some of the lasting images of artists such as James Booker, Professor Longhair and George Porter, Jr. Smith's photographs did what Jazz Fest has done - suggest that the music that came from New Orleans street/neighborhood culture was more than a Sunday afternoon racket, and popularized it by helping it reach beyond the city limits.

There's a good sample of Smith's work at his Web site.

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