The Jazz Photography of William P. Gottlieb

Capturing jazz with a lens.


Billie Holiday 1915-1959, Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, gelatin silver print, 1946.


Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong 1901-1971, Born New Orleans, Lousiana, gelatin silver print, 1947.


Sidney Bechet, 1897-1959, Born New Orleans, Lousiana, gelatin silver print, 1947.

July 25-Oct. 11

New York City’s infamous 52nd Street was the epicenter of the jazz music scene during the 1940s. It was known as “heaven on earth for jazz fans,” recalled photographer William P. Gottlieb. A Brooklyn, N.Y., native, Gottlieb’s photography career began in 1938 with jazz musicians as his subjects. His photos illustrated his weekly features, “Swing Sessions,” which he wrote for The Washington Post. With “Swing Sessions,” Gottlieb took portraits of more than 250 musicians. He also served as assistant editor of Down Beat magazine. His photos are well-known for their artistic originality and how intimate the photos were of the musicians. Gottlieb traveled but spent most of his career on 52nd Street after World War II. His unique photographs evoke the leading jazz musicians that changed the music scene. Now, in an exhibit titled The Jazz Photography of William P. Gottlieb, Oklahomans have a chance to see his work up close at Tulsa’s Gilcrease Museum. The exhibit will be on display through Oct. 11. For more information, visit