New library exhibits capture iconic work of C. Smith

Who: The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County

What: Better Than Good: The Photography of C. Smith; From Downtown to Uptown Photographed by C. Smith; and Your Personal Photographer: C. Smith

Where: Main Library, 800 Vine St., downtown

When: Now through Sunday, March 12, 2017

Why: For more than 60 years, Cincinnati photographer C. Smith has captured the African American community’s public struggles and its private celebrations. The Main Library is showcasing his photography in three exhibits: Better Than Good: The Photography of C. Smith (Jan. 13-March 12) in the Joseph S. Stern, Jr. Cincinnati Room; From Downtown to Uptown Photographed by C. Smith (Jan. 13-March 12) in the Popular Library; and Your Personal Photographer: C. Smith (Jan. 13-March 2) in the Atrium.

Selected from six decades of images, the exhibits feature multiple “firsts” in local African American history and showcase national and local sport figures, religious leaders, politicians and entertainers. An opening reception takes place 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 14, at the Main Library. A program about C. Smith’s career kicks off Black History Month at 1 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 4, in the  Main Library.

About C. Smith

Since starting his career at age 14 in 1949, when he developed film in a darkroom at the famed Cotton Club in the West End, C. Smith has become the most recognized African American photographer in Cincinnati. He was there to record black celebrities, such as James Brown, Ray Charles and Harry Belafonte when they visited the Queen City and local heroes like the Rev. Fred Shuttlesworth, Oscar Robinson, and Ezzard Charles. He has photographed the likes of U.S. presidents (Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George W. Bush) and religious leaders (Martin Luther King Jr., Desmond Tutu, and the Dalai Lama).

In 2008, the Greater Cincinnati Urban League recognized Smith as one of its Glorifying the Lions award winners. Smith is in the Who’s Who in Black Cincinnati (2013) and the African American Chamber Greater Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky inducted him in its inaugural 2015 Black Business Hall of Fame class.

For details, call 513-369-6905 or visit