Friday, August 23, 2013

Hot Summer, Cool Jazz: The Photographs of Herman Leonard

Hot Summer, Cool Jazz: The Photographs of Herman Leonard at Robert Mann Gallery. "...Leonard's most enduring pursuit was quintessentially American: jazz. He established a studio in the heart of Greenwich Village in 1949, and with his passion for the music and kind respect for those he photographed, he was accorded an unprecedented inside view of the New York jazz scene. Making use of techniques like backlighting, strobe lighting, and smoke, his photos dissolve the space between subject and lens, ensconcing the viewer in ambient gradations of shadow and light. Within his illuminated figures, Leonard exacts moments of delicate detail—an upturned lip and crinkled eye, the glint of a spotlight on a microphone—to grasp energy and emotion. Off-kilter framing accentuates the here-and-now feeling of the photographs: it's as if we've been dropped into the scene, hiding in the hazy dark at the base of the microphone or blasted with the trumpet's effervescent air."


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