Hugh Bell Photo Galleries Now Available to View on GME Website

Hugh Bell was a renowned art and commercial photographer, who worked in New York City over the course of his entire professional career. Upon his death in 2012, his son-in-law, Richard Martha, was named Executor of the Estate of Hugh Bell. In 2014 GME was engaged on an exclusive basis by the Bell Estate to manage the collection of Hugh Bell’s photographs and to further the artist’s legacy. GME is committed to resurrecting the career of this overlooked photographer, through licensing of his photographs, republishing his out-of-print books, mounting curated exhibitions, and in identifying a long-term repository for this significant collection of photographic works. Please contact info@gartenbergmedia.com for all inquiries related to the Hugh Bell photography collection.

 
 Hot Jazz (1952)

Hot Jazz (1952)

 
 Self portrait

Self portrait

Hugh Cecil Bell was born in 1927 in Harlem, New York City to parents from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As a young man he first attended City College, and then graduated in 1952 with a degree in Journalism and Cinematic Art from NYU. After NYU, Bell put his Film Degree to use and found work as a cameraman for television commercials.

Early in his career, Bell was befriended by the cinema vérité pioneer, Richard Leacock, who was interested in helping minorities find a professional footing. Bell assisted Leacock on the shooting of several documentaries, including “Jazz Dance” (1952). He also accompanied Leacock on several trips to Spain, where Bell met and photographed the world-famous Spanish bullfighter, Dominguin, as well as Lauren Bacall and Ernest Hemingway. Bell’s friendship with Leacock continued to deepen, and over the ensuing decades, he photographed the Leacock family in an extended series of candid portraits at their home.

In 1952, Bell shot his first of many legendary photographs of jazz greats, “Hot Jazz”. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected “Hot Jazz” for the groundbreaking exhibition “The Family of Man” at The Museum of Modern Art. Over 2 million photos were submitted and only 503 were selected. The exhibit showcased work from 273 photographers including Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and Irving Penn. This was the first instance of Hugh Bell’s photographic work being shown alongside these towering figures of modern photography.

 
 

During the 1950’s, Hugh Bell frequented all the top jazz clubs in New York City such as the Village Gate, the Open Door Café and Circle in the Square. He encountered and photographed many legendary musicians, including Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan. Bell’s lifelong passion for taking jazz photographs, often referred to as his “Jazz Giants” series, has been published in books and magazines. His jazz photographs have also graced the covers of innumerable vinyl jazz records.

 
 

In addition to jazz clubs, Bell went to and photographed local boxing matches, dance performances and legitimate plays, including Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” a seminal theatrical production starring James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou, and Godfrey Cambridge, that was mounted at the St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1961.

Bell opened his own studio in Manhattan in the 1960’s. Over the course of the ensuing decades he worked as a commercial photographer creating photographs for print advertisements, many of which were targeted specifically to the African American community.

Interspersed with his commercial work, Bell also focused on portraiture. During this period, he is most known for his images of the female figure. In 1970, a series of these portraits were published in Avant Garde magazine in a feature entitled, “Bell’s Belles”. Throughout this period, he also traveled to the West Indies, focusing on the region of his geographical heritage. He photographed carnivals in Trinidad and Haiti, and daily life in Antigua. He also traveled to Brazil, where he took photographs of the local citizenry.

Hugh Bell passed away on October 31, 2012. He left behind an extensive and wide-ranging photographic legacy that is now ready for rediscovery.

For more information about the Hugh Bell archive and his photographs, please contact:
info@gartenbergmedia.com

All Photographs, © The Estate of Hugh Bell

RECAP: Sarah Vaughan USPS First-Day-of-Issue Forever Stamp Ceremony, Newark Symphony Hall

The official unveiling of the Sarah Vaughan USPS Forever Stamp took place at Newark Symphony Hall on Tuesday, March 29th. Special guests and speakers at the event included performances by the New Mount Zion Baptist Church Choir, Melba Moore, Carrie Jackson and speeches by Diane Reeves and Newark Mayor Ras Baraka. Below are pictures from the event.

The photo that the stamp is based on was taken by photographer Hugh Bell whose collection is represented by Gartenberg Media Enterprises.

Click Here For NJTV Coverage Of The Event

 Special Guests of the event applaud at the unveiling of the Sarah Vaughan USPS Forever Stamp.

Special Guests of the event applaud at the unveiling of the Sarah Vaughan USPS Forever Stamp.

 Melba Moore

Melba Moore

 April Bell-Martha (daughter of Hugh Bell) and Jon Gartenberg (representing the Bell Estate)

April Bell-Martha (daughter of Hugh Bell) and Jon Gartenberg (representing the Bell Estate)

Sarah Vaughan – USPS First-Day-of-Issue Forever Stamp Ceremony March 29th at The Newark Symphony Hall, Newark, NJ

In 2014, Gartenberg Media Enterprises was engaged on an exclusive basis by the Estate of Hugh Bell to manage the collection of Hugh Bell’s photographs and to further the artist’s legacy. We are therefore proud to announce the featuring of one of Hugh Bell's iconic photographs of Sarah Vaughan on a USPS Commemorative Forever Stamp. The United States Postal Service is hosting a First-Day-of-Issue Stamp Ceremony for the release of the Sarah Vaughan Commemorative Forever Stamp at the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall at Newark Symphony Hall in Newark, New Jersey on March 29th, 11am.

 
  Above:   Sarah Vaughan   (Hugh Bell, 1955) and the Sarah Vaughan 2016 USPS Commemorative Forever Stamp

Above: Sarah Vaughan (Hugh Bell, 1955) and the Sarah Vaughan 2016 USPS Commemorative Forever Stamp

 

From The USPS Website:

"Sarah Vaughan was one of America’s greatest singers, successful in both jazz and pop, with a talent for improvisation and skillful phrasing and a voice that ranged over several octaves.

The stamp art is an oil painting of Vaughan in performance based on a 1955 photograph by Hugh Bell. A few lines of selvage text explain her importance as a Music Icon. The cover side of the pane features a larger version of the stamp art, a list of some of Vaughan’s popular songs, and the Music Icons logo. Bart Forbes was the artist and Ethel Kessler was the art director. The 11 a.m. First-Day-of-Issue dedication ceremony will take place March 29 in Newark, NJ, at the Sarah Vaughan Concert Hall."


Hugh Bell Biography:

Hugh Cecil Bell was born in 1927 in Harlem, New York City to parents from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As a young man he first attended City College, and then graduated in 1952 with a degree in Journalism and Cinematic Art from NYU. After NYU, Bell put his Film Degree to use and found work as a cameraman for television commercials.

Early in his career, Bell was befriended by the cinema verité pioneer, Richard Leacock, who was interested in helping minorities find a professional footing. Bell assisted Leacock on the shooting of several documentaries, including “Jazz Dance” (1952). He also accompanied Leacock on several trips to Spain, where Bell met and photographed the world-famous Spanish bullfighter, Dominguin, as well as Lauren Bacall and Ernest Hemingway. Bell’s friendship with Leacock continued to deepen, and over the ensuing decades, he photographed the Leacock family in an extended series of candid portraits at their family home.

In 1952, Bell shot his first of many legendary photographs of jazz greats,“Hot Jazz”. In 1955, Edward Steichen selected “Hot Jazz” for the groundbreaking exhibition “The Family of Man” at The Museum of Modern Art. Over 2 million photos were submitted and only 503 were selected. The exhibit showcased work from 273 photographers including Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and Irving Penn. This was the first instance of Hugh Bell’s photographic work being shown alongside these towering figures of modern photography.

During the 1950’s, Hugh Bell frequented all the top Jazz clubs in New York City such as the Village Gate, the Open Door Café and Circle in the Square. He encountered and photographed many legendary musicians, including Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan. Bell’s lifelong passion for taking Jazz photographs, often referred to as his “Jazz Giants” series, has been published in books and magazines. His jazz photographs have also graced the covers of innumerable vinyl jazz records.

In addition to jazz clubs, Bell went to and photographed local boxing matches, dance performances and legitimate plays, including Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” a seminal theatrical production starring James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou, and Godfrey Cambridge, that was mounted at the St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1961.

Bell opened his own studio in Manhattan in the 1960’s. Over the course of the ensuing decades, he worked as a commercial photographer. He produced photographs for print advertisements; many of which were targeted specifically to the Black community.

Interspersed with his commercial work, Bell also focused on portraiture. During this period, he is most known for his images of the female figure. In 1970, a series of these portraits were published in Avant Garde magazine in a feature entitled, “Bell’s Belles”. Throughout this period, he also traveled to the West Indies, focusing on the region of his geographical heritage. He photographed carnivals in Trinidad and Haiti, and daily life in Antigua. He also traveled to Brazil, where he took photographs of the local citizenry.

Hugh Bell passed away on October 31, 2012. He left behind an extensive and wide-ranging photographic legacy that is now ready for rediscovery.

 
 

For more information about the Hugh Bell archive and his photographs, please contact:
info@gartenbergmedia.com

RECAP: "Art of Jazz" Reviews in Harvard Magazine and The Boston Globe

Reviews on "Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes" from both The Boston Globe and Harvard Magazine have appeared online, both featuring photographer Hugh Bell. Here is what they had to say:

  Sarah Vaughan  (1955)

Sarah Vaughan (1955)

There are books, posters, and photographs. The latter mostly offer portraits of musicians — Hugh Bell’s gorgeous presentation of a gorgeous Sarah Vaughan stands out…

The Boston Globe

Birds—caged and escaped, singing and flying—have figured prominently throughout the history of jazz, and of African-American arts more broadly, Grant explains: think Nina Simone’s “Blackbird” and John Coltrane’s Bye Bye Blackbird. In the exhibition, they are a visual motif stitching the installations together. Illustrated birds decorate the pages of picture books, while a black and white portrait of saxophonist Charlie “Bird” Parker by Hugh Bell hangs on the neighboring wall…

Harvard Magazine

RECAP: Opening of "Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes" – Featuring the Photographs of Hugh Bell.

Last night was the public opening reception for "Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes," at the Ethelbert Cooper Gallery, Harvard University, featuring the photographs of Hugh Bell. The exhibition is now running through May 8th. Below are some photos from the event as well as an excerpt from the exhibition wall text:

(left to right) Researcher Mira Schwerda, Exhibition Co-curator David Bindman & Jon Gartenberg from GME in Hugh Bell section of exhibit.

A number of the best 20th-century photographers were stimulated by the challenge of capturing the vivid interaction of small groups of jazz players, often in dark and smoky cellars, while others were intensely interested in the individuality of great jazz musicians. One of the least known examples of the former is the photographer Hugh Bell (1927–2012), represented here by images of some of the greatest jazz players and a heartbreaking series of the great singer Billie Holiday in one of her last appearances.

Guests of the public opening looking at photos of jazz musicians by Hugh Bell.

Guests of the public opening looking at the series of Billie Holiday photos from one of her last public appearances at Carnegie Hall, 1957. Photographs by Hugh Bell.


Hugh Bell Photographs in "Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes" – The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery, Harvard University – February 3rd through May 8th

In 2014, Gartenberg Media Enterprises was engaged on an exclusive basis by the Estate of Hugh Bell to manage the collection of Hugh Bell’s photographs and to further the artist’s legacy. We are therefore proud to announce the featuring of photographs by Hugh Bell as part of "Art of Jazz: Form/Performance/Notes" exhibition to be held at The Ethelbert Cooper Gallery of African & African American Art. Held in collaboration with the Harvard Art Museums, the exhibition explores the interaction between jazz music and the visual arts.

 Billie Holiday (1957)

Billie Holiday (1957)

From The Cooper Gallery Website:

“Art of Jazz” consists of three exhibits at two venues. “Form,” a collection of work drawn from the Harvard Art Museum’s permanent collection, is presented in the Teaching Galleries at the Harvard Art Museums. “Performance” is a collection of books, album covers, photos and other ephemera in the Cooper Gallery’s lobby and front galleries. Scholars Suzanne Blier and David Bindman curated both of these installations. “Performance” at the Cooper includes modernist painter Beauford Delaney; photographers Hugh Bell and Carl Van Vechten; along with a sound installation accompanying the series of artist created album cover installations."


 
 Self-portrait

Self-portrait

 

Hugh Cecil Bell was born in 1927 in Harlem, New York City to parents from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. As a young man he first attended City College, and then graduated in 1952 with a degree in Journalism and Cinematic Art from NYU. After NYU, Bell put his Film Degree to use and found work as a cameraman for television commercials.

Early in his career, Bell was befriended by the cinema verité pioneer, Richard Leacock, who was interested in helping minorities find a professional footing. Bell assisted Leacock on the shooting of several documentaries, including “Jazz Dance” (1952). He also accompanied Leacock on several trips to Spain, where Bell met and photographed the world-famous Spanish bullfighter, 

Dominguin, as well as Lauren Bacall and Ernest Hemingway. Bell’s friendship with Leacock continued to deepen, and over the ensuing decades, he photographed the Leacock family in an extended series of candid portraits at their family home.

In 1952, Bell shot his first of many legendary photographs of jazz greats,“Hot Jazz.” In 1955, Edward Steichen selected “Hot Jazz” for the groundbreaking exhibition “The Family of Man” at The Museum of Modern Art. Over 2 million photos were submitted and only 503 were selected. The exhibit showcased work from 273 photographers including Dorothea Lange, Edward Weston and Irving Penn. This was the first instance of Hugh Bell’s photographic work being shown alongside these towering figures of modern photography.

During the 1950’s, Hugh Bell frequented all the top Jazz clubs in New York City such as the Village Gate, the Open Door Café and Circle in the Square. He encountered and photographed many legendary musicians, including Billie Holiday, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, and Sarah Vaughan. Bell’s lifelong passion for taking Jazz photographs, often referred to as his “Jazz Giants” series, has been published in books and magazines. His jazz photographs have also graced the covers of innumerable vinyl jazz records.

In addition to jazz clubs, Bell went to and photographed local boxing matches, dance performances and legitimate plays, including Jean Genet’s “The Blacks,” a seminal theatrical production starring James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Brown, Cicely Tyson, Maya Angelou, and Godfrey Cambridge, that was mounted at the St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1961.

Bell opened his own studio in Manhattan in the 1960’s. Over the course of the ensuing decades, he worked as a commercial photographer. He produced photographs for print advertisements; many of which were targeted specifically to the Black community.

Interspersed with his commercial work, Bell also focused on portraiture. During this period, he is most known for his images of the female figure. In 1970, a series of these portraits were published in Avant Garde magazine in a feature entitled, “Bell’s Belles”. Throughout this period, he also traveled to the West Indies, focusing on the region of his geographical heritage. He photographed carnivals in Trinidad and Haiti, and daily life in Antigua. He also traveled to Brazil, where he took photographs of the local citizenry.

Hugh Bell passed away on October 31, 2012. He left behind an extensive and wide-ranging photographic legacy that is now ready for rediscovery.


For more information about the Hugh Bell archive and his photographs, please contact:
info@gartenbergmedia.com


All Photographs, © The Estate of Hugh Bell

2nd Annual American Photography Archives Group (APAG) 2015 Seminar at the ICP Photography Center.

Jon Gartenberg attended the 2015 American Photography Archives Group (APAG) conference from Friday 9/18 to Saturday 9/19 at the International Center of Photography (ICP). GME represents the estates of photographers Raimondo Borea and Hugh Bell.

 
 Group photo from the 2nd Annual American Photography Archives Group (APAG) 2015 Seminar at the ICP Photography Center.

Group photo from the 2nd Annual American Photography Archives Group (APAG) 2015 Seminar at the ICP Photography Center.

 

"Through A Lens Darkly" featuring photographer Hugh Bell to air on PBS Independent Lens

Thomas Allen Harris’s film on the history of Black photographers, THROUGH A LENS DARKLY to be shown on PBS as part of their Independent Lens series. The film features the late photographer Hugh Bell, which GME is working with the estate of to archive his collection and promote his legacy. On PBS, Monday, February 16th at 10pm.