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Herman Leonard was born in Allentown, PA in 1923. At the young age of 9, he witnessed an image being developed in his brother’s darkroom and became enthralled with the magic of photography.
As a young man, he apprenticed Yousuf Karsh in Ottowa, Canada. He then went on to open a studio in New York City. With his camera as his free ticket, he offered to shoot publicity stills of the jazz artists for admission. While shooting at The Royal Roost and Birdland, he photographed and developed friendships with some of the greats of jazz history, including Miles Davis, Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Lena Horne, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and many more. Many of his photos eventually ended up on the covers of jazz albums while working for producer Norman Granz, as well as in Downbeat and Metronome magazines.
In the late 1950’s photographer Herman Leonard headed for Paris and continued to photograph the prolific jazz scene, while working in fashion, advertising, and for magazines including Life, Time, and Playboy. In 1988, the first exhibition of Herman Leonard’s photography was held at the Special Photographers Company in London. In the first month, over 10,000 people came to view the exhibit of unseen images.
In October 2008, photographer Herman Leonard was honored with a Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Portraiture. The Herman Leonard Jazz Archive was established in 2007, and in 2008 was awarded a Grammy Foundation Grant for Archiving and Preservation. His work is included in 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), and 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."
Print: Overall in good condition. Minor handling dents throughout the image with some minor vertical impressions along the left side of the image. Edges are slightly worn with mild yellowing in the margins. Please email for detailed pictures and note the colors and shares in the online catalogue illustration may vary depending on screen settings.