From staff reports
The College of Fine Arts is celebrating alumnus and famed photographer Herman Leonard as the 2009 Undergraduate Commencement speaker with a series of events that highlight his career and time at Ohio University.
During his career, Leonard has worked in Paris fashion and advertising, served as the European photographer for Playboy Magazine and most notably photographed and befriended some of the greatest jazz performers and notables of the 20th century. He also has photographed such luminaries as Albert Einstein, Harry Truman, Miles Davis, Martha Graham and Clark Gable.
He relocated to New Orleans in 1991 and became immersed in the local jazz scene. During Hurricane Katrina, about 8,000 of his hand-made prints were destroyed, though the negatives were saved. He has since relocated to Studio City, Calif., where he currently lives and works.
Leonard has received numerous national accolades for his work, including the Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography, the Lifetime Achievement Award from Downbeat magazine and the Lucie Achievement in Portraiture Award. In the forward of Leonard's third book, "Jazz, Giants, and Journeys: The Photography of Herman Leonard," published in 2006, renowned musician Quincy Jones wrote, "When people think of jazz, their mental picture is likely one of Herman's."
In honor of his return to campus, the Kennedy Museum of Art is presenting the exhibition "Jazz Captured: Iconic Images of Herman Leonard." These iconic images, which Leonard donated to the museum's collection, span a period lasting from the late 1940s to the 1990s featuring such notable names as Billie Holliday, Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington. The exhibit will run through July 26. Museum hours are Tuesday through Friday from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday from noon to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m. The museum is closed on Mondays and holidays. Parking and admission are free. Please visit www.ohio.edu/museum for more information.
The Ohio University Jazz Combo will present a concert inspired by Leonard's jazz images at 2 p.m. on Thursday, June 11, at the Baker University Center Theatre Lounge. Representatives from the group personally selected several of Leonard's photos, which will be on display during the concert. The ensemble will perform pieces by Miles Davis, Duke Ellington, Herbie Hancock, Lester Young, Art Blakey and Thelonious Monk. After the concert, Leonard will hold a short Q&A session.
Finally, Alden Library is highlighting Leonard's contributions as an undergraduate student. Leonard served a photographer and eventually photo editor for the Athena Yearbook. His yearbooks and a selection of period photography equipment will be on display through the summer at the Fine Arts Library on Alden Library's third floor.
In addition to the public events, Leonard will participate in an artist discussion with a small group of students and faculty.
Visit www.finearts.ohio.edu/hermanleonard.htm for more information