Bayeté Ross Smith
The “Our Kind Of People” series examines how clothing, ethnicity and gender affect our ideas about identity, personality and character. The subjects in this work are dressed in clothing from their own wardrobes. The outfits are worn in a style and fashion similar to how that person would wear them in daily life. I have kept the lighting and facial expressions the same in each photograph, changing only the clothing and race. Devoid of any context for assessing the personality of the individual in the photograph, the viewer projects her or his own cultural biases on each photograph.
He began his career as a photojournalist with the Knight Ridder Newspaper Corporation. Bayeté has exhibited with organizations and institutions such as the San Francisco Arts Commission, the Brooklyn Museum, the Oakland Museum of California, MoMA P.S.1, Duetsche Bank, Rush Arts Gallery, the Leica Gallery, the Utah MOCA, the Patricia Sweetow Gallery, the Goethe Institute (Ghana), and Zacheta National Gallery of Art (Poland). His collaborative projects “Along The Way” and “Question Bridge: Black Males” have shown at the 2008 and 2012 Sundance Film Festival, respectively. His work has also been featured at the Sheffield Doc Fest in Sheffield England and the L.A. Film Festival.
He has also been involved in a variety of community and public art projects with organizations such as the Jerome Foundation, Alternate Roots, The Laundromat Project, the city of San Francisco, the city of Atlanta and the San Francisco Municipal Transit Agency.
Bayeté’s accolades include a FSP/Jerome Fellowship, as well as fellowships and residencies with the McColl Center for Visual Art, Charlotte, North Carolina, the Kala Institute, Berkeley, California, the Laundromat Project, New York, NY and Can Serrat International Art Center, Barcelona, Spain.
His photographs have been published in numerous books and magazines, including Dis:Integration: The Splintering of Black America (2010), Posing Beauty: African American Images from the 1890s to the Present (2009), Black: A Celebration of A Culture (2005), The Spirit Of Family (2002); SPE Exposure: The Society of Photographic Education Journal, Black Enterprise Magazine, Working Mother Magazine, and the various publications of Village Voice Media.
As an educator, He has taught on the collegiate level and mentored youth through community based art programs. He has worked with the International Center of Photography, New York University, Parsons, the New School for Design, the California College of the Arts, and numerous K-12 and college level courses. Bayeté is currently the Associate Program Director for KAVI (Kings against Violence Initiative). A violence prevention non profit organization New York that has a partnership with Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn.