The black-and-white photographs taken by Milt Hinton between 1935 and 1999 comprise the major part of the Milton J. Hinton
Photographic Collection (MJHPC), which is housed in New York City. The MJHPC, co-directed by David G. Berger and Holly Maxson,
contains approximately sixty thousand 35 mm B/W negatives, thousands of reference and exhibition-quality prints, approximately
4,000 color slides, and photographs given to and collected by Milt and Mona Hinton. The MJHPC holds copyright to all of these materials.
Photographs from the MJHPC have appeared in books, periodicals, newspapers, jazz calendars, postcards, CD art, films, in videos,
and on the internet.
The MJHPC has curated EXHIBITIONS at venues ranging from neighborhood community centers to museums, including the Corcoran
Gallery of Art, the Denver Art Museum, and the Smithsonian Institution.
Until Milt’s death in 2000, the management of the photographs—selecting negatives for reference and exhibition prints, monitoring print
quality, and choosing exhibition sites—involved a close collaborative effort between Milt, David, and Holly. In their continuing
administration of the collection, David and Holly are always mindful of Milt’s point of view as a documentarian, his aesthetic, and his “voice.”
Milt was never a professional photographer, and he readily acknowledged that many of his pictures are of dubious quality.
He rarely used a flash in low-light situations, and to be less obtrusive, he often preset the camera’s focus so he could literally shoot
from the hip. Many rolls of film remained undeveloped for twenty years, and because Milt was seldom in the darkroom, at times he
inadvertently used stale chemicals to process his film. Negatives remained paper-clipped to contact sheets for years,
which resulted in rust problems, and several basement floods caused many pictures to adhere to one another and to their paper sleeves.
A current and major goal of the MJHPC is to complete a database of all of Milt’s photographs. This ongoing project,
begun in the late 1990s, in recent years has benefited from advances in digital photography. Scanning has become faster and more accurate,
and digital storage is less expensive. Computer software allows restoration of a damaged negative or print and the retrieval of elusive details
from poor-quality images while maintaining the integrity of the photographs.