Hozumi Nakadaira (with Hybrid Soul guitarist Chris Young at a Tokyo gallery, which recently had a retrospective show) has been taking photos of jazz musicians for decades.
His photos of John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Duke Ellington and other legends are a documentation of history _ and gorgeous testaments to their art.
He was one of the few who had bothered to take their photos _ legends making history.
Only the musicians appreciated he was there, snapping away with so much creativity their moments of creativity.
What’s even more amazing, Nakadaira has never made any money off his photos.
Making giant prints for exhibits is very expensive.
He can’t sell them because they don’t fit in any homes.
He sells smaller prints at a fraction of their cost at a several hundred dollars a piece, or replica post cards at cheaper prices even I can afford.
They don’t make up for what he has had to spend on travel to take photos at concerts and clubs around the world.
Nakadaira complains people don’t understand photography is art.
They ask to borrow his negatives _ for free _ as though the fruit of hours of effort and talent and work of love is an accidental commodity at a push of a button that can be borrowed and returned.
Nakadaira runs a cafe called “Dug” in Tokyo, where he used to have concerts by musicians you wouldn’t expect to hear up so close.
But he had to stop the performances. His neighbors didn’t like “the noise.”
He still doesn’t expect to make money from his photos _ those photos he takes carefully on old-fashioned film, those photos that have become album covers of famous artists, some taken right at Dug, transformed in his photo to a dramatic backdrop that claims its rightful place in the history of art, no longer a tiny, dark basement cafe.
There is no money. But he won’t stop.
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Other Music in Tokyo
American singer Tiffany appears at an opening party for a photo exhibit by Hozumi Nakadaira at Art cafe in Tokyo, Oct. 6.
Her voice is at times sparkling like crystal, sometimes sultry like velvet — wow, what cliches. Hey, what they say about great jazz voices happens to be true.
Tiffany has that voice, and all the nice techniques to match, which go to show that great jazz is live and well in Tokyo _ of all places.
It was the perfect place to hear a voice like hers _ surrounded by the gorgeous black-and-white prints of jazz giants like John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk and Miles Davis.
Nakadaira says digital photos aren’t real photos.
For one, they are just coding and are apt to even vanish _ like a glitch or virus, if you don’t watch out.
Photos _ the kind that are painstakingly, lovingly printed in dark rooms _ they are real.
Like art works, they may fade but they last an eternity, he tells me, noting he still has rolls and rolls of film of concerts he can barely remember the dates and places of, although, of course, he remembers the Music, note for note, almost, maybe not quite, but ringing years after the musicians have died, in his ears, in his photos.