David Maurice Smith: ORIGINS

Canadian documentary photographer David Maurice Smith’s project ORIGINS explores Hip Hop as a form of expression and a reaction to the conditions faced by African Americans living in the housing projects of New York City. Open May 16-27 at Paddingont’s Global Gallery as part of the 2012 Head On Photo Festival.

Trawling the nightscapes of New York City, the places and circumstances that anyone foreign to the scene would avoid and often fear. In this marginalised setting the struggle for respect and recognition of those distilled in Dave’s photographs is evident in their bejewelled fists and ostentatious garb and in the brash, American pride with which it is worn – as if a magic suit which lifts its wearer out of inadequacy and into a state of affluence.

There is a sense of threat, of foreboding in these photographs. Violence and sex compete for ascendency while the humdrum of home and family life behind the bravado provides a dichotomous yet endearing and intimate portrayal of the widely practiced but little understood culture of hip hop.

Oculi photographer Andrew Quilty

David Maurice Smith is an award winning Canadian Documentary photographer based in Sydney Australia. His work focuses on cross-cultural subjects and engages light, color and the human story to create candid, cinematic and intimate imagery. His work has been published and exhibited internationally.

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Head On Photo Awards 2024

Entries to the Head On Photo Awards 2024 open in May/June.

Image detail: Gary Ramage