Sam Stephenson shares an excerpt from his latest book, a reissue of an acclaimed collection of images from photographer W. Eugene Smith’s time in a New York City loft among jazz musicians.
Love how you’ve migrated to Substack. It’s a fantastic medium for engagement. Look forward to reading this later. Jazz and Photography. Match made in heaven :-)
This is just brilliant...the photos, the essay...
I swear I can hear the music and smell the flowers.
I had a chance to take a class with Sam probably 20 years ago when he was working on the Dream Street book (a classic). He not only got me going on Smith’s Pittsburgh project, but also introduced me to the writing of John Szarkowski. Time well spent.
Great Story - just got the book - I've known about this loft for sometime but am glad to have the full description , photos in one place. Thanks for the pointer to this great story
I have this one and the "Sink" book, both are good. Did Gene need the speed is like asking did Bird need the junk? Either way, great sht got made and we all are the better for it. Wish I coulda been there in the Flower District in those days...
This is such a sweet story. I felt its energy. It sustains me. Thank you.
Fascinating read about an inspirational photographer. Thanks for sharing Andy.
Great essay. Although my time in NYC began 2 decades later, I did know some of the cats in these photos, and also spent many many hours in a loft on 28th St and 6th Ave where there were concerts, jams, 4th Way meetings and fabulous urban-rustic potluck parties. The scents of flowers wafted up through the third floor windows, and so did the sound of sirens. That loft is gone, but the jazz plays on.
I'm also a jazz fan and a music photogpraphy in general. Next week I'll photograph again a local Jazz fest, very excited for that!
"The Jazz Loft Project" has been a book that has had a prominent place on my book shelf for many years, and one that I read cover-to-cover each time I feel the need to re-ground. Gene Smith's life has always been a sort of 'light house beacon' for me - showing the best and near-worst of the human condition that exists among genius. To read (in it's entirety) this post, was an absolute joy. It is so well written, and the content even more enlightening that the book itself. Thank you for this, and for continuing to honor such a great life lived.
I wonder.. was this at the Chicago Cultural Center, in a upstairs space, some years ago? It all seems so familiar, like a dream, but how could I have dreamed this amazing story?
Amazing story. Thanks
So sorry this will not be live streamed.