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Somewhere There’s Music by Larry Fink

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Larry Fink, Photographer
Jimmy Rushing
Chuck Brown

Why is it that so many creative photographers have a passion for jazz? Consider this list: Lee Friedlander, Gordon Parks, Roy DeCarava and W. Eugene Smith. And we’re not counting the creative photographers who became identified specifically as jazz photographers-people like Herman Leonard, William Claxton, William Gottlieb, Chuck Stewart, Lee Tanner and Francis Wolff or all the great European jazz photographers like Giuseppe Pino, David Redfern, Guy Le Querrec and Jan Persson. Larry Fink certainly belongs in the former list of great American photographers, and maybe in the latter list of jazz photographers too, as evidenced by this most recent book that features some of his most striking music images.

What’s interesting is that jazz is not generally perceived as a visual music. Just ask any television producer who’s tried to incorporate jazz into their entertainment show. The jazz performers usually dispense with theatrical gestures, tend to dress like college professors and are as likely (or even more likely) to connect with each other rather than the audience. Yet generation after generation of great photographers find themselves drawn to the jazz bandstand or rehearsal space for images that resonate in timeless fashion. No matter what intellectual rationalization we come up with, I believe this is what you call a paradox.

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