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Lourdes Delgado’s Jazz Brooklyn photo exhibit hits Brooklyn Public Library this fall

Photographer Lourdes Delgado’s most recent collection, Jazz Brooklyn: A Community of Visions, a subset of her larger work Jazz In New York: A Community of Visions, will be on display in the Brooklyn Public Library Grand Lobby from November 28, 2006 through January 28, 2007.

Since its conception in 2000, Jazz Brooklyn has grown in size to over 300 portraits. The pictures display an honest and accurate representation of musicians, a welcome change from the over glamorized press shots the public is typically given access to. In a press release, Delgado (pictured) explained the objective of this project to capture “how jazz musicians and others in the jazz industry live today in New York. Exploring jazz from a social, economic and cultural viewpoint, I portray individuals in their homes, rendering the space they inhabit and the objects with which they surround themselves.”

In addition to documenting musicians, the collection also portrays the private lives of non-musicians, such as club owners and managers, accounting for approximately 10 percent of the total collection. “I have over 300 different portraits of all different ages, genders, background, instruments and musical approaches. My project is neither focused exclusively on famous musicians, nor on a particular style of jazz…I intend to portray this community with the belief that each individual, whether on a larger or small scale, contributes…overall,” Delgado elaborates.

As she visually preserves the lives of musicians, Delgado provides an important social context with which to understand the musician, and preserves these often overlooked contributors to musical culture in American society. Sam Stephenson of Duke University wrote to Delgado “If 50 years ago a photographer would have documented in their homes the young Miles, Monk, Mingus, Evans, Coltrane, etc. as you are doing it today, those images would be now more valuable for us (cultural historians, urban anthropologists and jazz scholars) than all those images in which they appear playing.”

So it is with this project that Delgado not only hopes to capture the magnificent essence that is the life of a creative artist, but also to use these photographs to “become a tool to reflect on social and anthropological issues” of our generation.

One of the most interesting aspects of her work is that much like the music she captures, Delgado revels in improvisation and imperfection, finding the beauty in real life and human nature. “For the master shot, I take just one picture,” she explained. “As in jazz, I accepted the results with its achievements and mistakes.”

For more information on Lourdes Delgado, visit her homepage at

Originally Published