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Masters of Jazz Photography: Susanne Schapowalow


photo by Susanne Schapowalow 

Miles Davis





In the 1940’s and 50’s, as her career as a freelance photographer was developing, German-born Susanne Schapowalow took intimate and brilliant photographs of jazz musicians in the hotel lobbies and jazz clubs of Berlin, Hamburg, Frankfurt, Paris and New York, and in concert settings like Jazz at the Philharmonic, German jazz festivals, and during Quincy Jones’ 1960 European tour.

Over thirty of these photographs – all apparently unpublished and featuring artists like Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis, Nina Simone, Lester Young, and Bud Powell – reside in slide show form on a website devoted to her work, a collection described as a “rediscovered jazz life of a Lady photographer.”   The site states that Ms. Schapowalow was “the only female jazz photographer of the 40’s and the 50’s,” (although Carole Reiff worked during the 50’s, and others may have also), whose photographs “unveil a glorious period in jazz.”  Indeed they do…

These are extraordinary works of art, many of them new to my eye.  See them for yourself by clicking here.