In 1958, Art Kane, already a successful art director looking to jump-start his photography career, pitched the idea of a “class photo” for Vogue magazine’s annual jazz edition. In addition to individual photographs of jazz legends, he proposed a group portrait of musicians gathered on a stoop, in Harlem. For music and photography aficionados, the photo, now commonly referred to as “A Great Day in Harlem,” is an iconic image, and on today’s episode of the B&H Photography Podcast we speak with Jonathan Kane—Art Kane’s son and an accomplished musician and photographer in his own right—about the creation and impact of this photograph. We also discuss the new book, Art Kane. Harlem 1958 - 60th Anniversary Edition, which provides context for the image's creation and never-before published outtakes.
In the second half of the show, we welcome contemporary jazz photographer Clara Pereira, who is one-half of the team behind the blog Jazztrail.net. Pereira speaks on the nuts and bolts of jazz photography, including tips on gear, technique, settings, and lighting. We find out that her simple approach is very effective, as she explains how to keep a low profile while shooting, the differences between working a club and a concert hall, and between performance and portrait work. Join us for this enjoyable episode and take a listen to our earlier episode on the image, “A Great Day in Hip-Hop,” which was photographed at the same Harlem location as Art Kane’s masterpiece.
Guests: Jonathan Kane and Clara Pereira
Photograph © Clara Pereira