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Preview: W. Eugene Smith and the Jazz Loft Photographs

In Art Museum, Black and White Photography, Books, Exhibits, Photographer on February 14, 2010 at 5:07 pm

Eugene Smith Jazz Loft

W. Eugene Smith -  “Jazz Loft “ Project

A Valentines Day gift to our readers …

‘The Underground Story of Photographer W. Eugene Smith and the Jazz Loft’, is at The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts, 40 Lincoln Center Plaza, New York from February 17th through May 22.

What promises to be a great exhibition combining images and sound, music and art, this an interesting sampling of the work of W. Eugene Smith and is a pictorial recording of intimate jazz “moments” featuring many of the jazz masters.

In 1957, former Life magazine photographer W. Eugene Smith moved out of the home he shared with his wife and four children in Croton-on-Hudson, New York, and into a dilapidated, five-story loft building at 821 Sixth Avenue (between 28th and 29th streets) in New York City’s wholesale flower district. The building was a late-night haunt of musicians, including some of the biggest names in jazz—Charles Mingus, Zoot Sims, Bill Evans, and Thelonious Monk among them—and countless fascinating, underground characters.

From 1957 to 1965, Smith exposed 1,447 rolls of film at his loft, making roughly 40,000 pictures, the largest body of work in his career, photographing the nocturnal jazz scene as well as life on the streets of the flower district, as seen from his fourth-floor window.

For those on the East Coast this a great opportunity to sample his images which usually require at trip to Tucson and the Center for Creative Photography, University of Arizona, where much of Smith’s work is housed. A book is also available.

For more information: Jazz Loft Project

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