Photography was love at first sight—it is an extension of my insight to the world and the people around me; it is my second child, my first being my daughter Jamilah Aisha, meaning "beautiful alive." Both have given me strength to continue on.
Born in Harlem and now residing in Jamaica, Queens, Salimah Ali started writing poetry, but her love of photography became more prominent. Interested in photography since the age of 15, she developed her craft while attending LaGuardia Community College in 1972. Her photography propelled her to enroll in the Fashion Institute of Technology, as a photography major. The institute was a catalyst for her photo career. During the mid-1970s through the mid-1980s, she photographed such celebrities as Earth, Wind and Fire, Bob Marley, Stevie Wonder, Eartha Kitt, Patti LaBelle, Grace Jones, and others. Her work has appeared in Essence, Ms., Black Enterprise, USA Today, Newsday, The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and Washington Post. Ali is a member of Kamoinge, a New York–based collective of African American photographers.