Day 5 – Forse

William P Gottlieb’s Jazz Photos

About six weeks ago, I saw a rather good photograph on the internet of Sidney Bechet playing his soprano sax. I searched around to see if there were any online print sellers from whom I could buy a copy, but failed.

Eventually I discovered that the photo formed part of the William P Gottlieb collection, which is kept by the US Library of Congress. Gottlieb was working as a photo-journalist in the late 1940s and specialised in taking pictures of jazz musicians. His collection runs to around 1,500 photos, and it is well worth spending an hour or two browsing through it. The sense of atmosphere he captured – not only in the jazz club shots, but also the New York street scenes – is fantastic!

The best part is that his photos are downloadable from the LOC website as high resolution files, and are all (at his request) in the public domain. This means there is absolutely no reason why you shouldn’t have your own prints made for you by someone with suitable equipment. Naturally I did! Six, in fact… and here’s Sidney, in an early mock-up of the frame. More to follow.

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