Ming Smith Invisible Man, Somewhere, Everywhere 1998

  • Not on view

“I evolved as a photographer with the series Invisible Man [1990–91], just like a jazz musician who plays the head [the known melody of a song] before they start improvising. Ralph Ellison’s book Invisible Man [1952] was an inspiration, especially the idea of what it means not to be seen, but I didn’t consciously set out to make work about it. I wanted to capture the feeling of painting and make photographs on an artistic scale. Living in a Black environment, the people I photographed didn’t have to put on any airs, they were just living their life. The series was about a feeling, an expression. Anyone could identify it. We were present but we weren’t there. We were visible but also invisible.” —Ming Smith

Gallery label from Projects: Ming Smith, February 4–May 29, 2023
Oil paint on gelatin silver print
18 11/16 × 12 9/16" (47.4 × 32 cm)
Gift of Kathleen Lingo in memory of Linda McCartney
Object number
© 2024 Ming Smith

Installation views

We have identified these works in the following photos from our exhibition history.

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

If you notice an error, please contact us at [email protected].


If you would like to reproduce an image of a work of art in MoMA’s collection, or an image of a MoMA publication or archival material (including installation views, checklists, and press releases), please contact Art Resource (publication in North America) or Scala Archives (publication in all other geographic locations).

MoMA licenses archival audio and select out of copyright film clips from our film collection. At this time, MoMA produced video cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. All requests to license archival audio or out of copyright film clips should be addressed to Scala Archives at [email protected]. Motion picture film stills cannot be licensed by MoMA/Scala. For access to motion picture film stills for research purposes, please contact the Film Study Center at [email protected]. For more information about film loans and our Circulating Film and Video Library, please visit https://www.moma.org/research/circulating-film.

If you would like to reproduce text from a MoMA publication, please email [email protected]. If you would like to publish text from MoMA’s archival materials, please fill out this permission form and send to [email protected].


This record is a work in progress. If you have additional information or spotted an error, please send feedback to [email protected].