The Photographer Micaiah Carter Captures Black Beauty at Home
Black Beauty Vol. I, the latest solo exhibition of photographs by Micaiah Carter, is currently on view at SN37 in New York’s Sea Port district. The exhibition—an exploration of intimacy, legacy, and the Black self, mixes Carter’s signature approach to bold fashion portraiture with tender glimpses of his own family life. Carter chose the show’s title—and its premise more broadly—after a Google search for “black beauty” yielded nothing but “a bunch of horses.” “I wanted to touch on the similar experiences that a lot of Black people share growing up in America,” Carter told Interview. Here, the young photographer, who has shot everyone from Rihanna to Symone, and most recently the Euphoria girls, talked to us about some of the very personal images on display at SN37. Black Beauty Vol. I is on view until March 27th—and, according to the artist, there’s more to come. Black Beauty Vol. II is due to exhibit later this year.
“So that’s my niece, and I just wanted to capture her beauty. I wanted to capture the calmness of her face, her looking up, taking in the sun. Wanting to feel a peaceful moment. It deals with innocence—how that feels, basically.”
“This photo was inspired by my dad— his style and the ’70s, a little bit. I wanted to kind of capture that air of individuality with him. I wanted it to be a clean photo, and I think it’s very beautiful. I love the the styling. It definitely explores the idea of legacy, and what that means at different ages. That’s also part of the reason why I feel like [the exhibition is] about ‘coming home.’ They all add up to this feeling that you get—of hometown glory. But it’s more about realizing where you came from.”
“That’s my brother. We’re seeing a Black man loving on his kids. You rarely get to see that. My brother is a single father, and that was something that I wanted to capture. The soft love that comes with that. I think this photo does that perfectly—the kiss on the forehead, and the way my other niece has her hand on his back. It speaks to the gentleness of that moment. I think we’re always shown the other end of the stick. There’s pressure to present yourself as masculine, or you something like that. That’s something that I wanted to break out of.“
“This is also inspired by the ’70s, from my dad’s archival work. I wanted to capture Black power. I wanted to capture confidence in a very Afro-futurist way. In thinking ahead, I wanted to bring the past with us. It still overwhelms me. I’m just really glad that I was able to share this project.”