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Report: France

French photographer captures New York's jazz scene in black and white

Mona Mouallem

Philippe Lévy-Stab has dedicated his life to photographing the great musicians of jazz. For over 25 years he has captured the intimate moments of these artists through his camera lens.

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Lévy-Stab takes most of his inspiration from the mecca of jazz music, New York City.

He spends about three months every year in the Big Apple, soaking up inspiration while he attends all-night jazz performances, where he snaps up a couple photos to add to his
collection.

He develops and prints his own photos, making the process from start to finish about one year.

His biggest collectors are not necessarily people who know much about this music. Instead they are drawn to a certain and rare moment captured by Lévy-Stab that peers back at your through his photos. For him, if one of his photos can make a jazz fan out of someone, he has succeeded in snapping that moment.

Jazz musicians in pictures

He talks about this intimate moment that he works hard to capture through his 6x6 120 film camera. For him, this art is all about making connections and jazz is the perfect medium to sustain these types of interactions.

In his white-washed studio there are various sizes of his portraits on display everywhere. There is barely a speck of free space left. A giant portrait of Keith Anderson hangs over the fireplace. Just over in the kitchen - that doubles up as his dark room - are portraits hanging off the cabinet doors and above the bathtub.

His current exhibition, title Jazz, the sound of New York is on display in his studio here in Paris.

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