Call for Entries - All About Photo Awards 2020

Herman Leonard

Country: United States | Born: 1923 - Died: 2010
Herman Leonard was born in 1923 in Allentown, Pennsylvania to Romanian immigrants. At the young age of 9, he first witnessed an image being developed in his brother's darkroom and became enthralled with the magic of photography.

As the official photographer for his high school, Herman quickly learned that with a camera in hand, he had an "open sesame" to people and events, that his shyness might have prevented him from experiencing. When it came time for college, Herman chose Ohio University, "The only university at the time that could offer me a degree in Photography". His college studies were interrupted from 1943-1945, as Herman joined the United States Army and was sent to Burma with the 13th Mountain Medical Battalion. He had hoped to be a field photographer, but was ironically assigned as a combat anesthetist when he failed a test, which required him to identify the chemical ingredients of film developer. After the war, Herman returned to college and graduated in 1947 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts Degree.

Upon graduation from Ohio University, he took a chance and drove to Ottawa, Canada in hopes of working with famed portraiture photographer, Yousuf Karsh. Karsh was impressed with his determination and took him on as an apprentice. Herman assisted Karsh in the darkroom and with photographic sittings including, Martha Graham, Harry Truman, and Albert Einstein. Karsh's photographic advice to Leonard, "Tell the truth, but in terms to beauty." During a portrait session with Albert Einstein, Leonard questioned the professor about the connection between a musician and a mathematician. Einstein's response, "Improvisation." Leonard was inspired by these two influential men and applied their credos to his work.

In 1948, Herman's passion for jazz brought him to New York City's Greenwich Village, where he set up a small studio at 220 Sullivan Street. He made his way into the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem. With his camera as his free ticket, he offered to shoot publicity stills at the jazz clubs for admission. While shooting at The Royal Roost and Birdland, he quickly developed friendships with the some of the greats of jazz royalty, including Duke Ellington, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Quincy Jones and many more. His stunning photographs began appearing in Downbeat and Metronome magazines, and on the covers of albums while working for jazz producer Norman Granz.

In 1956, he was hired by Marlon Brando as his personal photographer, and traveled with him on an extensive research trip throughout the Far East. Upon his return to NYC, he was offered a position at Barclay Records in Paris, France. He continued to photograph the prolific jazz scene, with many of the American jazz artists now living there, he also photographed many French recording artists such as Charles Aznavour, Jacques Brel, Eddy Mitchell and Johnny Hallyday. Paris would be his home for the next 25 years, working from his studio in Paris's Neuilly-sur-Seine neighborhood. He also had a successful career working in advertising, for fashion houses Yves St. Laurent and Dior, as well as many international magazines including Life, Time and early Playboy.

In 1980, he left France for a more tranquil life, and moved his family to the Spanish island of Ibiza. During that time he rediscovered his jazz negatives that had been stored in a box under his bed, and in 1985 released his first book, The Eye of Jazz, published by Hachette/Filipachi Publications. In 1988 he moved to London where he had the first exhibition of his jazz photographs at the Special Photographers Company. After rave reviews by the London Times and the BBC, he became an overnight sensation, with 10,000 people coming to the small Notting Hill gallery to view his unseen images. The following year he premiered his first US show, which toured nationally.

After living in Europe for over thirty years, he returned to the U.S. In 1992, an exhibit in New Orleans would change his life. He fell in love with the city and moved there to immerse himself in its vibrant and lively jazz scene. He continued to exhibit his work around the world in numerous solo shows. In 1995, Leonard released his second book, Jazz Memories, published by Editions Filipacchi, and in that same year was awarded an "Honorary Masters of Science in Photography" from The Brooks Institute of Photography. Other awards received at this time included the "Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography," from Jazz Photographer's Association, the "Excellence in Photography Award" from the Jazz Journalists Association, and a "Lifetime Achievement Award" from Downbeat Magazine in 2004.

In August 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed his home and studio when it was flooded with over 8 feet of water. The storm claimed his life's work, some 8,000 silver gelatin photographs that had been hand printed by him, a master printer in his own right. As the storm blew in, Leonard's crew had gathered the negatives and securely placed them in the care of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art, where they were stored in an upper level vault. At the age of 82, and with his city in ruins, he decided to move with his family to Los Angeles to reestablish his life and business.

In 2006, he released his third book, "Jazz, Giants, And Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard", published by Scala Publishers, Ltd. In the forward to the book, Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's."

Herman Leonard's photographs, now considered fine art collector's items, are a unique record of the jazz scene in the 1940's, 50's and 60's. Throughout his long life, he traveled and lived around the world, capturing images with his distinctive style. Whether he was photographing Miles Davis, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong or a street musician in his home in New Orleans, Herman's smile, warmth and engaging personality continued to open doors for him and his camera; to reveal a world we might have missed. Certainly Herman Leonard's iconic photographs will long be remembered not only for their enduring historic significance, but also for their breathtaking artistic beauty. They are part of the permanent archives of the Smithsonian Museum in Washington, D.C., where they are considered as essential to American music history as Benny Goodman's clarinet or Louis Armstrong's trumpet. His legacy has continued to be honored with major touring exhibitions of his work including the GRAMMY Museum in Los Angeles, Jazz at Lincoln Center in NYC, the San Francisco Jazz Center (SFJAZZ), The National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC, and The Clinton Presidential Center. President Bill Clinton has called Herman Leonard, "The greatest jazz photographer in the history of the genre."

In the last years of his life, Herman Leonard's goal was to bring his entire jazz collection, comprising a visual documentation of America's original art form, back to life and preserve it for future generations.

Source: hermanleonard.com

Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard
Jazz
Author: Herman Leonard
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA
Year: 2010 - Pages: 320
Since the 1950s, Herman Leonard's photographs of jazz musicians have been crucial in shaping the image of the music and the world in which it was created. Leonard's friendships with jazz greats such as Dizzy Gillespie and Miles Davis gave him rare access to the innovators who made modern jazz and the places in which they made it. Leonard took his camera into the smoky clubs and after-hours sessions, to backstage parties and musicians' apartments, to build an incomparable visual record of one of the twentieth century's most significant art forms. His luminous images of Charlie Parker, Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, and many others, both in performance and "off duty," are at once supreme examples of the photographer's art and a unique record of a musical revolution. For this definitive collection of his work, Leonard has retrieved scores of previously unseen photographs, published here for the first time, alongside his most famous and widely recognized images. Accompanied by an essay exploring the stories behind the pictures, and an interview with Leonard revealing his techniques, Jazz captures and preserves the glory days of the music that has been called "the sound of surprise."
 
The Jazz Image
Author: Herman Leonard
Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
Year: 2010 - Pages: 256
Typically a photograph of a jazz musician has several formal prerequisites: black and white film, an urban setting in the mid-twentieth century, and a black man standing, playing, or sitting next to his instrument. That's the jazz archetype that photography created. Author K. Heather Pinson discovers how such a steadfast script developed visually and what this convention meant for the music. Album covers, magazines, books, documentaries, art photographs, posters, and various other visual extensions of popular culture formed the commonly held image of the jazz player. Through assimilation, there emerged a generalized composite of how mainstream jazz looked and sounded. Pinson evaluates representations of jazz musicians from 1945 to 1959, concentrating on the seminal role played by Herman Leonard (b. 1923). Leonard's photographic depictions of African American jazz musicians in New York not only created a visual template of a black musician of the 1950s, but also became the standard configuration of the music's neoclassical sound today. To discover how the image of the musician affected mainstream jazz, Pinson examines readings from critics, musicians, and educators, as well as interviews, musical scores, recordings, transcriptions, liner notes, and oral narratives.
 
Jazz, Giants and Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard
Author: Herman Leonard
Publisher: Scala Publishers
Year: 2006 - Pages: 240
The first book on Leonard's full body of work, including portraits of Billie Holliday, Tony Bennett, Quincy Jones and Frank Sinatra. With a camera as his backstage pass, Herman Leonard has photographed the giants of jazz in their golden age, movie stars on set and on their travels to exotic places, the fashion world of Paris in the 1960s, and the inner sanctums of his beloved New Orleans. His friendships with the jazz greats, moments at Harlem and Paris jazz clubs, and colorful life enabled him to document the lives of the cultural icons of his day, with such rare images as Marilyn Monroe on an elephant in the circus, to Albert Einstein at his desk. This exquisite book is the first full treatment of this extraordinary life and distinctive body of work, giving Leonard's photographs the artistic recognition that they deserve.
 
The Eye of Jazz: The Jazz Photographs of Herman Leonard
Author: Herman Leonard
Publisher: Viking Adult
Year: 1990 - Pages: 152
Gathers postwar portraits of more than sixty top jazz musicians and singers from Louis Armstrong to Lester Young
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Bara Prasilova
Nationality: Czech Republic
Bara Prasilova gratuated from the Institute of Creative Photography at Silesian University in 2012. She lives and works in Prague (Czech Republic) and focuses on fine art , portrait and fashion art photography.

She is the winner of several contests including the Screenings Awards (2013), the Photographer of the Year (2011 Czech Grand Design), the Photographer of the year (2009 Czech Grand Design), finalist of the Hasselblad Masters (2014), finalist of the New York (…)
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
Bara Prasilova
 
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Nationality: France
Born: 1984
Self-taught photographer, Rémi Chapeaublanc was destined for a scientific career in bioinformatics. He continued to use the Cartesian approach from this training adding a sensitive, people-centred dimension the day he decided to be a photographer.

For his series Gods & Beasts (2011), he crossed Europe and Asia reaching Mongolia. Inside the yurt or outside, at nightfall, he produced portraits of Kazakh nomadic herders and their animals without ever resorting to (…)
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
Rémi Chapeaublanc
 
Victoria Bjorklund
Nationality: United States

From www.victoriabjorklund.com
Victoria Bjorklund is a photographic & book artist based in Tacoma, Washington. She finds inspiration within the city and seeks to give a narrative in each thoughtfully captured photograph. Victoria is a graduate of the Fine Art Certificate program in Photography from Maine Media College and a graduate of the EDGE program for visual artists through (…)
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
Victoria Bjorklund
 
Sebastien Tixier
Nationality: France
Born: 1980

Born in 1980 in a small town in central France, Sebastien Tixier now lives and works in Paris, France.

Trained as an engineer, the shy fascination that he had during childhood for his father’s camera finally takes over in 2007 when he starts as an independent photographer. Half in the studio, half in the fields, his work goes all the way from the dark corners of staged photographs to documentaries about the questions of our time. His photographs have been (…)
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
Sebastien Tixier
 
Bruno Barbey
Nationality: France
Born: 1941

Bruno Barbey is a Moroccan-born French photographer. Throughout his four-decade career he has traveled across five continents, photographing many wars.

Barbey was born in Morocco and in 1959-1960 he studied photography and graphic arts at the Ecole des Arts et Métiers in Vevey, Switzerland. During the 1960s he was commissioned to photograph European and African countries by Editions Rencontre in Lausanne. In 1964 Barbey began a relationship with Magnum Photos, (…)
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
Bruno Barbey
 
Dorothea Lange
Nationality: United States
Born: 1895 - Died: 1965

Lange, Dorothea was an American documentary photographer, who studied photography at Columbia University and worked as an assistant to Arnold Genthe before beginning a photographic trip around the world in 1918. When she ran out of funds in San Francisco, she remained, opened a photographic studio, and during the early 1930s began photographing homeless rural people flooding into the city from the Dust Bowl exodus.

Her photographs brought her to the attention (…)
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
Dorothea Lange
 
Nieves Mingueza
Nationality: Spain
Nieves Mingueza is a lens-based, mixed media artist working with experimental photography, collage and text. Born in Spain, based in London. The often-cinematic themes in her projects have in common her fascination with old books, film stills, vintage cameras, poetry and minimal drawings. Ultimately, Nieves' work is about the foggy relationship between fiction and reality. In addition, she is currently exploring about immigration, mental health and human conflicts.

(…)
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
Nieves Mingueza
 
Juanan Requena
Nationality: Spain
Born: 1983
Juanan was born in an arid village in La Mancha, where he was captivated by the horizons as he built huts among the maize fields. Following beautiful failures and continuous drifts, he moved to the South Sea, where he learnt hendecasyllables and quejíos selling books and serving coffees. He became a traveller while wiring the tours of rock 'n' roll bands and filling up endless diaries. In this way, he roamed nomadically, covered in salt residue and shrouded in doubts, until (…)
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
Juanan Requena
 
Filippo Venturi
Nationality: Italy
Born: 1980
Filippo Venturi is an Italian documentary photographer working on editorial, corporate, commercial assignments and personal projects.

His works have been published in different newspapers and magazines such as The Washington Post, Financial Times, Vanity Fair, Internazionale, La Stampa, Geo, Marie Claire, Die Zeit, Gente, D di Repubblica, Io Donna/Corriere della Sera. He cooperates with several agencies in Italy and abroad for advertisement projects. He also (…)
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
Filippo Venturi
 
Alain Laboile
Nationality: France
Born: 1968
I was born on the 1st of May, 1968, in Bordeaux. After an half-hearted schooling, I live of odd jobs until 1990, the year I met Anne. It was the time of my opening to art.I accompanied Anne, student in Art History, to her lectures.It is in the darkness of the crowded amphitheatres that I witnessed heatedly the dissection of the Italian Renaissance artworks. Drawing being my ally since childhood, I can let myself drift into this third dimension by making plaster portaits in a (…)
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
Alain Laboile
 
Photo LA
Sponsored Link
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Photo Contest - All About Photo Awards 2020
 
Discover the Latest Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
David Bailey: SUMO
Sponsored Link
 
Explore All About Photo