Michael P. Smith, a New Orleans-based photographer who specialized in capturing the city’s vibrant music and cultural scenes, died Sept. 26th. He was 71. The cause and place of death were not reported.
Smith, whose portfolio included performances from 34 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festivals, was a New Orleans native. He began shooting the city’s cultural events nearly 40 years ago, capturing along the way such New Orleans fixtures as Mardi Gras, jazz funerals, and countless jazz, R&B, gospel and blues artists at work. He retired in 2004.
Smith’s work has been exhibited not only in New Orleans but in New York, Europe and other locations, and is included in permanent collections at the Smithsonian Institution, the Louisiana State Museum and several other museums and galleries in various cities. His shots have also appeared on CD covers, in books and magazines, and in documentary films. Smith was the recipient of a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities in 2002.