“He said, ‘All you’re going to do is be a domestic,’ ” the photographer, who now lives in Harlem, tells The Post. “ ‘Why waste going to college?’”

Instead, Smith went to Howard University in DC, moved to New York City and became one of the foremost chroniclers of black life in the US and beyond. She’s now the subject of a major solo exhibition, opening Friday at the Steven Kasher Gallery in Chelsea with 75 photos on view spanning her 40-year career.

“I had a teacher who used to tell me, ‘Always be in the art,’ ” says Smith, whose impressionistic images capture the grit, poetry and vitality of communities from Coney Island to Senegal. “I photograph from my heart — it’s impulsive, but it’s constant.”

African American Photographer, Black Photographer, Ming Smith, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNHarlem | Ming Smith

African American Photographer, Black Photographer, Ming Smith, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNProdigal Son | Ming Smith

African American Photographer, Black Photographer, Ming Smith, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNSun Ra | Ming Smith

African American Photographer, Black Photographer, Ming Smith, KOLUMN Magazine, KOLUMNSelf Portrait | Ming Smith


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KOLUMN Magazine celebrates the lives of People of Color by giving our world texture.