From 1957 to 1965 legendary photographer W. Eugene Smith made approximately 4,000 hours of recordings on 1,741 reel-to-reel tapes and nearly 40,000 photographs in a loft building in Manhattan’s wholesale flower district where major jazz musicians of the day gathered and played their music. Almost fifty years later, Jazz Loft Project director Sam Stephenson and Jazz Loft Project research associate Dan Partridge visited Merrimac, Massachusetts, to interview Harold Feinstein, a pioneer loft resident and a friend of W. Eugene Smith. Feinstein provided in-depth history and insight regarding Smith and many others from the community documented in the Jazz Loft Project. A legendary photographer in his own right, Feinstein’s more famous work includes several decades of Coney Island images, exquisite flower portraits, and documentation of his service in the Korean War. In August 2012, Nazraeli Press will publish a monograph encompassing the definitive retrospective of his career. Read more about Feinstein’s work here.
The Jazz Loft Project, organized by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University in cooperation with the Center for Creative Photography at the University of Arizona and the W. Eugene Smith estate, is devoted to preserving and cataloging Smith’s audio tapes, researching his photographs, and obtaining oral history interviews with surviving loft participants. This work is represented in a book, exhibition, radio series, and website. The Jazz Loft Project exhibition is on view through October 7, 2012, at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego, California.