The world is so small.
Herman Leonard and myself at his lecture at Splashlight Studio, Oct 18, 2008.
© Joseph A. Rosen
As some of you know.. I lived in New Orleans before moving to New York. The years were 2001-2004. My first year in New Orleans I was fortunate enough to meet Herman Leonard (who is receiving the Achievement in Portraiture award at the Lucie's tonight). I had a friend that worked for him and was allowed to hang out with Herman around his studio/darkroom/home. I was working at Whole Foods when he one day came through my line and asked if he could shoot my portrait. Here's a man that has shot images of Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, Miles Davis.. was Marlon Brando's personal photographer..
The friendship unfolded from there and over those years I learned a great deal about photography, life and love from this man. He was just shy of 80 years old when I met him. I moved away from New Orleans in 2004 to attend school in New York. Herman had written me a letter of recommendation. He pushed me to work harder at what I loved and to go places I wasn't familiar with. He had been pushed himself.. by the man he was fortunate enough to apprentice under, Yousuf Karsh. When Katrina hit, Herman lost his amazing living/working space and moved to Los Angeles.
On Saturday the 18th I was lucky enough to do a double take on an email I had gotten letting me know that Herman would be speaking at Splashlight. I hadn't seen him in over 4 years. He hasn't aged a bit! This man in incredible. I love him dearly.. and was so happy to give him a huge hug and meet some of his photo friends, including Joseph Rosen (who was nice enough to snap our photo together).
Frank Sinatra, NYC, 1956 © Herman Leonard
Ella Fitzgerald, Paris, France, 1960 © Herman Leonard
Al Green © Joseph Rosen