Somewhere among the 60,000 photographs of Herman Leonard is a black-and-white image of Miles Davis, painting. That Miles Davis. The photograph is dramatic because of its simplicity and graphic quality. To achieve the uncluttered image, Leonard removed all background and other cluttering details to capture just Miles Davis hovered over a table absorbed in his painting. It isn’t common knowledge that he was a painter and that he painted on a flat desk rather than an easel. But photographer, Herman Leonard is a huge fan of jazz music and by extension its musicians. So back in the day he followed them around with his camera, capturing such obscure details about their lives.
Nearing his ninth decade of life, Leonard is bringing his pre-digital-age body of work into the twenty first century where it will be searchable and also less prone to destruction. He lost thousands of prints in Hurricane Katrina. For digitizing more than 60 years of photographs, the photographer’s team is using Microsoft Expression Media for its ease of use and the capability to create a searchable, digital photo album. Expression Media which is Microsoft’s iteration of iView Media Pro is a favorite of photographers with a high volume of images to catalog and review.
But while today’s digital technology makes it possible for a photographer to shoot several gigabytes worth of shots to get just the right one, Herman Leonard doesn’t approve of this approach. “Shooting a million photos just makes you lucky,” says he. Instead he encourages up and comers to look at what intrigues them, and analyze why they are drawn to it. He is drawn to circles because circles make for a stronger image. As for the age old, art versus commercial art argument, Herman Leonard endorses the merger. Though his work is now in galleries he also worked in advertising, fashion and other commercial photography.
See his site here
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