I learned of the passing of Herman Leonard today. Herman was a legendary photographer, most famous for his classic black and white photos from the golden era of jazz. I had the pleasure of meeting him while he lived in New Orleans, a city that he fell in love with immediately after arriving.
Herman participated in a panel discussion honoring the late Michael P. Smith (known for his great photography of second line parades and the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival) at Tulane University years ago that I attended. I also ran into him on a few other occasions, and had the pleasure of introducing him to my young son, an aspiring New Orleans photographer.
It’s amazing to think that Herman had to shop around to find a gallery to show his photos decades ago. Those same photos are now part of the Smithsonian Institute, and considered some of the greatest musician photos in history.
Herman was an engaging man and truly loved the musicians that he captured in photo. He will be greatly missed in both the music and photography worlds.