Lee Friedlander took promotional portraits for a number of recording companies beginning in the mid-1950s and through the 1970s. Most well-known for his work with Atlantic Records, many of his session photographs became classic jazz, country, and rhythm and blues record album covers. Presented in the Great Hall, American Musicians includes some of Friedlander’s most dynamic color pictures, as well as intimate, but equally vivid, portraits taken while scouting talent with record label executives.
Lee Friedlander was born in 1934 and graduated from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, in 1956. That year he moved to New York City where he began photographing jazz musicians for Atlantic Records. Although he has always been based in New York, Lee Friedlander has spent time photographing Louisiana, and New Orleans in particular, continually since his first visit in 1957.
Through his portraits of famous jazz musicians made into album covers for Atlantic he helped promote jazz internationally, while his portraits of lesser-known artists in their homes have preserved a local history of the genre. A larger exhibition of the photographer’s works, Lee Friedlander in Louisiana, will open at NOMA on April 27.