Herman Leonard (1923 – 2010) was born and raised in Allentown, PA. He attended Ohio University, the only university at the time that could offer him a degree in Photography. His most influential teacher was master portrait photographer, Yousuf Karsh. His love of jazz led him to New York City where he photographed legends such as Miles Davis, Billie Holiday, Duke Ellington, and many more. His jazz photographs, now collector’s items, are a unique record of the jazz scene from 1940 through 1960.
Leonard has authored several books and has an Honorary Master’s of Science in Photography from the Brooks Institute of Photography. He received the “Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography” from the Jazz Photographer’s Association, the “Lifetime Achievement Award” from Downbeat Magazine in 2004,and “Excellence in Photography” award from the Jazz Journalists Association.
More than 100 of his original prints reside in the Smithsonian’s permanent collection. His works are also featured in a number of public collections and the private collections of Sir Elton John, Bruce Bernard, His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand and President Bill Clinton.
The exhibition program in the Bette and Nelson Pfundt Gallery is presented by Vivian Banta and Robert Field.