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Rhode Island School of Design

Portrait by the Artist: Lee Friedlander at Atlantic Records: Exhibit


After photography, Friedlander said that his greatest love is music. While living in Los Angeles, Friedlander pursued both passions by taking photos of jazz musicians. Through this interest, Friedlander met Nesuhi Ertegun, a producer at Atlantic Records. When Friedlander moved to New York City in 1956, he became the house photographer at Atlantic, a position he held until the mid-1960s. This exhibition showcases Friedlander’s photographs from this time in his career, drawing on publications of his collected work as well as a selection of the original LP jackets.


Among the friends Friedlander made at Atlantic was record producer Joel Dorn, who stated "I loved the Friedlander covers almost as much as the music." Dorn explains, “Against the prevailing style of flash and glitz, Friedlander’s straightforward headshots struck a distinctive note. He often visited the musicians at home, and did his best to put them at ease, aiming to picture the person rather than the performer. Lee’s pictures show who these people were when they weren’t being who they were.”

Friedlander (New York: Museum of Modern Art, 2005)



Robert Garzillo, Technical Services Librarian

Poster Design: Doug Scott, Faculty, Graphic Design

Books on Exhibit

LPs on Exhibit

Wilbur de Paris Plays Cole Porter / Atlantic 1288 / designer, Artie Saks (1958)

Ray Charles at Newport / Atlantic 1289 / designer, Marvin Israel (1958)

Chris Craft / Chris Connor / Atlantic 1290 / designer, Marvin Israel (1958)

The Four Brothers Sound / Jimmy Giuffre / Atlantic 1295 / designer, Marvin Israel (1960)

Blues & Roots / Charles Mingus / Atlantic 1305 / no designer listed (1960)

Giant Steps / John Coltrane / Atlantic 1311 / designer, Marvin Israel (1959)

Portrait of the Artist: Bob Brookmeyer / Atlantic 1320 / no designer listed (1960)

Ornette Coleman, Change of the Century / Atlantic 1327 / no designer listed (1960)

Philly Joe’s Beat / Philly Joe Jones / Atlantic 1340 / no designer listed (1960)

This is our Music, The Ornette Coleman Quartet / Atlantic 1353 / designer, Loring Eutemey (1960)

The New Tristano / Lenny Tristano / Atlantic 1357 / designer, Loring Eutemey (1960)

Coltrane Jazz / John Coltrane / Atlantic 1354 / designer, Loring Eutemey (1961)

Bags & Trane / Milt Jackson & John Coltrane / Atlantic 1368 / no designer listed (1961)

What’d I Say / Ray Charles / Atlantic 8029 / designer, Marvin Israel (1959)

Sonny Stitt & the Top Brass / Atlantic 1395 / cover design Loring Eutemey (1962)

Jazz at Preservation Hall, the Eureka Brass Band of New Orleans / designer, Marvin Israel (1963)

The Word from Mose, Mose Allison / Atlantic 1424 / no designer listed (1964)

Grassella Oliphant, the Grass is Greener / Atlantic 1494 / cover design Marvin Israel (1967)

Belafonte at Carnegie Hall / Harry Belafonte / RCA-Victor 6006 (1959)

Miles Davis, In a Silent Way / Columbia Records 9875 (1962)

Luckey & the Lion, Harlem Piano / Luckey Roberts & Willie “The Lion” Smith / Good Time Jazz S10035 (1960)

All photographs are by Lee Friedlander. LPs on exhibit are from the curator’s collection.