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Bill Gottlieb Receives Milt Hinton Award for Photography

Last month in New York City, Bill Gottlieb joined a list of names that includes Bill Claxton, Ray Avery and Herman Leonard when he was presented with the 5th Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography. The award was named for bassist/photographer Milt Hinton in honor of his photographic contribution in documenting the jazz world of his time as well as recognizing his lifetime contribution to the music of jazz

Gottlieb’s career began in 1938 with a position at The Washington Post where he wrote a weekly jazz column. Determined to illustrate his articles with pictures of the musicians he wrote about, he acquired a Speed Graphic Press camera, his first camera.

After WWII Gottlieb pursued a career with Down Beat and photographed the jazz greats in New York jazz clubs. It was during this time Gottlieb took his most famous portrait of Billie Holiday. After leaving Down Beat Gottlieb started a company producing educational filmstrips for children which contained many of his own illustrations and photographs. Ultimately the company was sold to McGraw-Hill.

The jazz photographs Gottlieb took between 1938 and 1948 are some of the most famous and most widely produced jazz portraits today. More than 200 of his photographs are published in The Golden Age of Jazz (Pomegranate Artbooks).

Gottlieb’s works were donated to the Library of Congress as the William P. Gottlieb Collection (visit and have been featured in exhibits, books, and publications worldwide. The United States Postal Service even selected Gottlieb’s portraits of Billie Holiday, Jimmy Rushing, Mildred Bailey and Charlie Parker for a series of postage stamps commemorating jazz performers. Though retired, Gottlieb remains busy with continuing exhibits of his work throughout the world.

Originally Published