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Photos that prove Boston in the 1970s was special

  • Alumni in the News
  • Photography

Mike Smith (BFA Photography) bought his first camera in Vietnam while serving in the US army. A friend showed him a photograph they’d taken of a parrot, and almost immediately, he sought out the same apparatus. From then on, he took a camera wherever he moved, and studied for a BFA and MFA in the practise. In the early 80s, Mike landed a job at Eastern Tennessee State University teaching photography. In the years since, his work documenting this region, and the quiet, often traditional community ensconced in the mountains of Southern Appalachia, has won plaudits for its depth and sensitivity. His prints now hang in the Whitney, the MET and MoMA.

But in the late 1970s, however, Mike was in Boston, where he’d grown up and was working as a messenger to supplement his studies at Massachusetts College of Art. The role made him privy to all corners of the city, and he captured those he encountered as he moved through it. Almost half a century on, he’s publishing a selection of the work taken during this period, entitled Streets of Boston.

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