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Photography of

William P. Gottlieb

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Over a photographic career lasting less than a decade, William Gottlieb created a body of work that stands as the definitive visual chronicle of jazz in the 1930s and 1940s.

Starting September 1st, 2018 the SFUSD building opposite of SFJAZZ will display the photography of William P. Gottlieb.

SFJAZZ photos in a dramatic display on historic school building (SF Chronicle)

Curated by Jim Goldberg, SFJAZZ Photographer Laureate

Images courtesy of the William P. Gottlieb/Ira and Leonore S. Gershwin Fund Collection, Music Division, Library of Congress

Exhibit by SFJAZZ in association with the San Francisco Unified School District

William P. Gottlieb

(1917-2006)

A Brooklyn native, Gottlieb graduated from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University in 1938 and was hired by The Washington Post to work in their advertising department. He convinced The Post to allow him to write a weekly column devoted to the thriving New York jazz scene, but since the newspaper wouldn’t pay for a photographer to accompany the young writer to performances, Gottlieb bought a press camera and took photos himself, capturing priceless images of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan, Miles Davis, and hundreds more at a pivotal time in the music’s evolution. Following his service in WWII, Gottlieb wrote and photographed for DownBeat and was a contributor to Collier’s and the Saturday Review. He left his jazz career behind in 1948 to spend more time with his family, working for an educational filmstrip company and writing children’s books. Gottlieb’s jazz photography was compiled in his bestselling 1979 book The Golden Age of Jazz.

William P. Gottlieb

(1917-2006)

A Brooklyn native, Gottlieb graduated from Pennsylvania’s Lehigh University in 1938 and was hired by The Washington Post to work in their advertising department. He convinced The Post to allow him to write a weekly column devoted to the thriving New York jazz scene, but since the newspaper wouldn’t pay for a photographer to accompany the young writer to performances, Gottlieb bought a press camera and took photos himself, capturing priceless images of Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Jordan, Miles Davis, and hundreds more at a pivotal time in the music’s evolution. Following his service in WWII, Gottlieb wrote and photographed for DownBeat and was a contributor to Collier’s and the Saturday Review. He left his jazz career behind in 1948 to spend more time with his family, working for an educational filmstrip company and writing children’s books. Gottlieb’s jazz photography was compiled in his bestselling 1979 book The Golden Age of Jazz.