I just ran across an interesting website from the photographer Herman Leonard.
His large format (atleast his self portrait shows him holding a graflex) black and white portraits of the Jazz worlds greatest names, ranging from the mid forties to the end of the 50's are beautiful. Composition, lighting, emotion, and skilled black and white darkroom work bring these portaits to life!
I encourage you all to stop by and have a look.
great site !
Great work! His street and New Orleans galleries are nice too. Added to my Favorites....
I had often seen the various portraits of Elle Fitzgerald and Louie Armstrong, but never new who was responsible. Now I do. And I found it amazingly refreshing to see such nice b/w work of something other than landscape or architecture.
Another fine portrait photographer is Philip Halsmann. He did a portrait of Judge Lerned Hand (sp?) that is just amazing, along with the very famous shots of Einstein, Marilyn Monroe and JFK. But my favorite shot of his was of a nobel prize winning mathematician who was blind.
The portrait was done in front of an old slate chalkboard, that was of course blank.
Amazing. I've not found a link to his work though, so if anyone has any clues...
I got to meet Herman 2 years ago in Houston at the Houston Center for Photography. You are correct that he used a largeformat camera. He shot most of the Jazz stuff in his studio so he could control his lights. So, he created an atmosphere that the musicians were comfortable with. He was a fashion and commercial shooter around the same time. He made those photos for the love of it and never really tried to market them. Once in England when he was very broke, a gallery agreed to show the work and from what he said that show set records for selling work. That became his legacy. He is a very nice and humble man. Must be in the middle 70's by now.