L’Oeil du Jazz.
True first edition. This copy inscribed by Leonard to French actor and film producer Claude Haymann, “A Claude Haymann En Sincère hommage, Herman Leonard”, and extremely uncommon thus. On his return from the Second World War Leonard spent a year in Ottawa as apprentice to the great alchemist of photographic portraiture Yousuf Karsh. In 1948 he established himself in a small studio in Greenwich Village, and with his camera as his free ticket, he made his way into the swinging clubs of Broadway, 52nd Street and Harlem, offering to take publicity portraits of the performers in exchange for admission. While shooting at locations such as The Royal Roost and Birdland, he developed lasting friendships with some of the greats of jazz history, Miles, Bird, Diz, Lena Horne, Lady Day, the Prez, Duke Ellington and many more. His photos graced the covers of many albums produced by the great Norman Granz, also appearing in the jazz journals of record, Downbeat and Metronome. After a stint as Marlon Brando’s personal photographer, Leonard settled in France and became one of the country’s most in-demand fashion photographers, working for the leading couture houses, and most chic advertising agencies. It was only during a move from Paris to Ibiza in 1980 that Leonard rediscovered boxes full of his jazz negs from the 40s and 50s, a find that led to this, his first book. In the year of publication Leonard was awarded an “Honorary Masters of Science in Photography” from The Brooks Institute of Photography, he has subsequently received the “Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography,” from Jazz Photographer’s Association, a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Downbeat Magazine, and in 2008 the much-coveted Lucie Award for Portraiture from long-time friend Tony Bennett. The importance of Leonard’s’ work is probably best summed up by Quincy Jones, who said “When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman’s”.
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Quarto. Original black cloth, title gilt to spine, pictorial endpapers. With the dust jacket. Profusely illustrated from Leonard’s photographs. Top corners a little bumped, the jacket a touch used, but overall very good.