Tuesday, March 27, 2012

William Gottlieb’s Iconic Photos of Jazz Greats, 1938-1948

William Gottlieb’s Iconic Photos of Jazz Greats

William Gottlieb  (January 28, 1917 – April 23, 2006) was a young reporter in the 1930s. Gottlieb was also self-taught photographer and he set out on his own to photograph the jazz scene when his employer the Washington Post refused him the equipment or budget to take these photos. From 1938-1945 he documented the jazz scene in Washington, D.C. and in New York City which resulted in iconic portraits of jazz greats. Gottlieb took most of his photos while these performers played or sang at well-known New York City jazz clubs. 

This series known as The Golden Age of Jazz includes 219 of these stunning portraits. The collection includes photos of Billie Holiday, Louis Armstrong, Sarah Vaughan, Dizzy Gilespie, Thelonious Monk, Ella Fitzgerald, and Mister, Billie Holiday’s dog, too.
These portraits entered the public domain on 2010 and can be seen online through the Library of Congress who has also included footage of Gottlieb speaking about his subjects.

Some selections from the Central Library's collection:

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