About Herman Leonard
Herman Leonard took intimate, decisive photographs of nearly every now-legendary jazz singer and musician, amassing a visual record of the genre’s heyday in New York and Paris from the 1940s to the ’60s. He honed his craft under the tutelage of master portrait photographer Yousuf Karsh. In 1948, he moved to New York, gaining entrance into its sizzling jazz clubs by offering to shoot publicity stills for the likes of Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis, and Billie Holiday. In the late 1950s, he relocated to Paris, where he chronicled its jazz scene before turning his focus to commercial commissions. In the 1980s, he revisited his jazz negatives, publishing his first book, The Eye of Jazz (1985), and holding his first exhibition, which brought him critical acclaim. Leonard died in New Orleans, re-immersed in jazz culture—his lifelong love.
American, 1923-2010, Allentown, Pennsylvania