An exhibition titled ‘Jazz Giants-The Photography of Herman Leonard’ will open May 10th at the Morrison Hotel Gallery in New York’s Soho. The exhibition of Leonard’s work is described as “a photographic journey through the golden years of the jazz, blues and bebop eras that document the larger-than-life legends that comprise the visual album of America’s music. Focusing on the life and times of famed artists such as Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, Thelonious Monk and Tony Bennett (pictured), among countless others.” The exhibition features a selection from Leonard’s extensive photographic history.
Born in Allentown, PA, Leonard discovered the camera at age 11 and, now 85 and living in Los Angeles, hasn’t stopped shooting since. Leonard studied under famed Canadian portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh and later had the opportunity to shoot Albert Einstein, Harry S. Truman and Clark Gable. In the 1950s he became the personal photographer to Marlon Brando. Leonard’s fashion and advertising jobs have run in magazines like Life, Time and Playboy. The devastation of Hurricane Katrina not only took his home, studio, and darkroom but over 6,000 of Leonard’s original photographs, along with many of his exposure records were lost in the hurricane.
Recently, the Smithsonian Institution honored Leonard by housing his entire collection in the permanent archives of musical history. He is also the recipient of a
Grammy grant to archive and preserve his collection of over 65,000 negatives and later this year he’ll receive the 2008 Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Portraiture.
The Morrison Hotel Gallery is located at 124 Prince Street, New York, NY 10012. The exhibition is free to the public and runs from Saturday, May 10th-Sunday, June 1st, from 11am to 7pm daily, Sunday 12pm to 6pm. Examples of Leonard’s photography can be found at herID>Morrison Hotel Gallery.