Born and raised in Allentown, PA in 1923, at age 9, Herman Leonard witnessed an image being developed in his brother’s darkroom and became enthralled with the magic of photography. Herman’s most influential teacher was master portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh, to whom Herman was an apprentice in Ottawa, Canada from 1947-1948. Herman assisted Karsh in the darkroom and with sittings including Albert Einstein, Harry Truman, Martha Graham, and Clark Gable. In 1948, Herman’s passion for jazz brought him to New York City’s Greenwich Village, where he began his career photographing and developing friendships with some of the greats of jazz history including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington and many more. Mr. Leonard remains active today exhibiting his works throughout the world.
Beginning on August 29 and running until October 29, 2009, Reserve LA is hosting a special exhibition of Leonard’s photographs. The opening is built in conjunction with the release of the Fresh Jive shoe made by Etnies Plus, but beyond that the exhibition is a true celebration of an American icon. His jazz photographs have been an integral part of my life and to see them placed in a epicenter of contemporary street culture very exciting indeed.
Reserve LA is located at 420 N. Fairfax, Los Angeles, CA.
Some of my favorite photographs (of some favorite musicians) after the jump.