How to take jazz photographs | Lauren Deutsch’s technique

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Image courtesy of Ridham Nagralawala/Unsplash.com

Have you ever looked at a photograph and thought – just how did he/she achieve this kind of effect? This is the first part of 3 that will explore the aesthetics, techniques and practicalities of making great jazz images.

To help us with this journey, I will explore three photographers, Lauren Deutsch, Ernest Gregory and Marc PoKempner who have had decades of experience in photographing jazz musicians.

We will look out for:

  • The methods they used
  • Their intentions when photographing
  • Challenges behind the pictures they made be it portraits of musicians, the ensemble, the audience and the venue

About Lauren Deustch

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Malachi Favors | Image courtesy of Lauren Deustch

Lauren’s career spans more than 35 years and has work shown at the Chicago’s Logan Centre for the Arts. She currently serves as the Executive Director of the Jazz Institute of Chicago.

Speaking about the photographs she has taking over the years, she found that often her best pictures weren’t the sharpest or carefully composed but rather those that evoke the ‘spirit of the music’ which is reflected through the artists’ demeanor or the texture of the image.

She looks up to Roy De Carava, a Harlem photographer who showed her “how to work with what’s available in a given situation“. She never used a flash and pushed the film settings to create sharp contrasts and capture the mood of the venues she shot from.

Some of her achievements include being nominated for the Excellence in Photography award by the Jazz Journalists Award and has also created the Art of Music, a 25-piece installation about the alchemy of music.

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