Community and Family: Seattle in the Photographs of Al Smith

View towards Lake Union as Interstate 5 was being built in the 1960s. Photo by Al Smith.

Last night at the Museum of History & Industry (MOHAI), the excitement in the grand reception room was palpable. Museum donors gathered for a preview of Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith, for which LNWM is very proud to be one of the sponsors, especially since our firm turns 50 this year and has grown over the decades along with Seattle. Thanks to Al Smith, we now have these fantastic images of an important, fascinating part of Seattle’s history, said Howard Giske, curator of photography at MOHAI.

Last night at MOHAI, South Lake Union.

Smith’s son Butch then spoke about his father’s lifelong connection to his camera (photo at left), and how family and community played such an important role in Smith’s life and work. As jazz writer Paul de Barros notes in the book of Smith’s photographs (available at MOHAI), “Al Smith’s best-known work is from Seattle nightclubs in the Jackson Street district during the early 1940s. This was a heroic period for Seattle jazz — a wartime scene that ultimately spawned such internationally known artists as Quincy Jones, Ray Charles, and Ernestine Anderson.”

Seattle on the Spot: The Photographs of Al Smith opens this Saturday, November 18, and will run until June 2018.