David Redfern’s – Twelve for Twenty-Twelve

Wilson Benesch - David Redfern - Macy GrayAs we move into 2012, we are delighted to continue to share David Redfern’s work. On the turn of the year David has kindly provided us with a personal selection of images old and new in a our ‘Twelve for Twenty-Twelve’ collection.

As this wonderful image of Macy Gray from the 2011 Nice Jazz Festival highlights, David Redfern remains at the cutting edge of Live Music photography. He continues to work at all the major Jazz festivals globally; completing his 35th New Orleans Jazz festival in 2011. David remains the President of BAPLA (British Association of Picture Libraries and Agencies) a role he has fulfilled for the past 18 years.

David Redfern’s career began in the twilight jazz clubs of 1960’s London. He risked his one and only camera amongst the jiving teenage crowds. The British Trad boom was under way. His first published photos featured Kenny Ball, Chris Barber, George Melly, and the old Marquee Club.

David began photographing TV Shows like ‘Ready Steady Go’ and ‘Thank Your Lucky Stars’ which were shot during the day. Here he made many of his now classic shots of the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and Dusty Springfield.

Meanwhile his nights were spent at the 100 Club, Ronnie Scott’s or the Marquee, where he captured on film all the jazz greats from Miles Davis to Ella Fitzgerald.

These pictures were to contribute to what is now the most comprehensive jazz collection in Europe. To break into the commercial world by chasing the big American names, David became a regular visitor to the Jazz festivals in Newport, Antibes and Montreux, and the big rock festivals, photographing such greats as Hendrix and Dylan.

By the 1970’s David had firmly established his name as one of the top music photographers in the business. In 1980 Pete Townsend’s Eel Pie Company published David Redfern’s Jazz Album. Lavishly illustrated with many of David’s finest jazz photographs, it was highly acclaimed by critics and public alike. In the same year, at Frank Sinatras request, David stepped into Terry O’Neill’s shoes as official tour photographer.

‘David, you’re one helluva photographer, keep shooting!’
Frank Sinatra

At the beginning of 1989 David moved his music picture library REDFERNS to new premises in West London, a location now much favoured by the British music industry. The library expanded rapidly. Covering over 26,000 different artists and styles from every musical genre, and representing some 500 photographers and collections, it became the most comprehensive music picture library in the world, with over 205,000 items online.

‘David, to me, is probably the greatest jazz photographer in the world’
Buddy Rich

The December ’94 issue of the American publication Jazz Times featured David’s work in their ‘Special Collectors Edition’, with select contributions from six of the world’s most highly acclaimed jazz photographers. David was the only non-American to be featured. This also coincided with sale of his 1995 Jazz Calendar published by the renowned calendar publishers The Ink Group.

September 1995 saw the launch of a series of 10 Jazz postage stamps by the US post office. Three of David’s images were used: Louis Armstrong, Thelonious Monk & Coleman Hawkins. The inclusion of the Louis Armstrong image was a result of some 38,000 signatures collected from 65 countries over 8 years, and had a special launch in New Orleans, the birthplace of Louis Armstrong. As a point of interest the picture of Louis Armstrong was taken by David in New York in 1967, on his first visit to the US.

His book The Unclosed Eye was published by Sanctuary Publishing in May 1999 with critical acclaim. The London Sunday Times Magazine published a 4 page feature.

Wilson Benesch - David Redfern CollectionThe book publication coincided with exhibitions in London, New York and New Orleans, followed by one in Cork, Ireland in October 2000. The prestigious design magazine ‘Creative Review’ published a profile on David in their February 2001 issue. It was entitled ‘Leader with Vision’. David had another exhibition in September 2001 in conjunction with the Soho Jazz & Heritage Festival in London and at the Vienne Jazz festival in June/July 2002.

In November 2005 The Unclosed Eye expanded 2nd edition in hardback was published by David himself. This included a 200 limited slipcase edition complete with two 10 x 8 original colour prints.

David received ‘The Milt Hinton Award for Excellence in Jazz Photography’ in New York in January 2007. The award recognizes lifetime achievement in jazz photography as art and history.

In December 2008 David sold Redferns Music Picture Library to Getty Images. He has the use in perpetuity of his favourite 1000 images to market as fine art prints, and for his partner Suzy to use in her fashion textile business Suzy Reed Ltd.

Wilson Benesch would like to thank David for providing his images for our fans around the world and we hope that you enjoy the selection of images with us over the next 12-months.

Craig Milnes
Design Director
Wilson Benesch Ltd.