Hugh Bell (1927-2012) was born in New York to parents who emigrated from the Caribbean island of St. Lucia. Bell attended George Washington High School in Manhattan, where he was one of their long distance track stars, and graduated in 1945. He spent a lot of time doing the thing he liked best, photographing jazz musicians, through which he gained notoriety while in his twenties. After graduating from New York University in 1952 with a bachelor's degree in Journalism and Cinematic Art, Bell’s iconic photo “Hot Jazz” was selected by Edward Steichen for inclusion in The Museum of Modern Art's landmark exhibition, The Family of Man, one of the most successful photographic exhibitions of all time. Bell’s extensive photographic career included striking photos of many jazz greats (including two U.S. postage stamps from his photographs of Benny Goodman and Sarah Vaughan), scenes of life in Spain, including a visit by Ernest Hemingway, Afro-Caribbean life, the family of Richard Leacock, theater and dance, nudes and models, and contemporary LGBT imagery, in addition to commercial work for numerous publications. His work resides in the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art and in several private collections.
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