Photography

Claxton, William (1927 - 2008)

Willam Claxton earned his reputation with his moody black and white portraits of leading jazzmen of the 1950s and 1960s such as Duke Ellington or Charlie Parker and by believing that photography was ‘jazz for the eye’. Often accompanying musicians during their tours, the American photographer captured them at work should it be a meditative Chet Baker whose face reflects in his piano or a powerful Dinah Washington confronting her mic. Yet what William Claxton succeeded in the most was in representing jazz musicians in other settings than their sweaty and frantic New York clubs; choosing outdoor sunny sceneries and laid-back outfits that gave an innovative freshness to their depictions. He often said he had succeeded in celebrity photography by promising not to portray his subjects in a negative way and by finding common tastes such as Steve Mc Queen’s passion for sports car. Should it be that trust that enabled him to capture an over made-up aging Gloria Swanson or the stress of an agitated Judy Garland: no negative portrayals but clearly harsh realities.

Tags / William Claxton - American Photographer - Portrait - Jazz - 1960s - Celebrity
William Claxton, Ornette Coleman, 1959. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Ornette Coleman, 1959. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Cootie Williams, New York, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Cootie Williams, New York, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dennis Hopper, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dennis Hopper, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, Los Angeles, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, Los Angeles, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, Texas, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, Texas, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, Hollywood 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, Hollywood 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Stan Getz by a stage door on Cosmo Alley, Hollywood, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Stan Getz by a stage door on Cosmo Alley, Hollywood, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Judy Garland, Las Vegas, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Judy Garland, Las Vegas, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Cassavetes, Burbank, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Cassavetes, Burbank, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Miles Davis, Los Angeles, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Miles Davis, Los Angeles, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Gloria Swanson, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Gloria Swanson, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Natalie Wood, New York, 1961. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Natalie Wood, New York, 1961. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Zoot Sims, later 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Zoot Sims, later 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Duke Ellington, Monterey, 1958. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Duke Ellington, Monterey, 1958. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, George Hamilton, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, George Hamilton, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dinah Washington, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dinah Washington, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Halima & Chet Baker, Redondo Beach, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Halima & Chet Baker, Redondo Beach, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Lorraine Glover, wife of famous hardbop trumpet player Donald Byrd, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Lorraine Glover, wife of famous hardbop trumpet player Donald Byrd, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Audreys Hot Dog Stand, Los Angeles, 1961. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Audreys Hot Dog Stand, Los Angeles, 1961. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, 1960's. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker, 1960's. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker and Teddy Charles (piano), Pasadena, 1953. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker and Teddy Charles (piano), Pasadena, 1953. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen hot Licks on his Guitar, Texas, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen hot Licks on his Guitar, Texas, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dizzy Gillespie, New York City, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Dizzy Gillespie, New York City, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Will Shade and His Tub Bass, Memphis, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Will Shade and His Tub Bass, Memphis, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker and Lili, Hollywood, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker and Lili, Hollywood, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Jimmy Archey, Earl “Fatha” Hines, and Pops Foster, San Francisco, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Jimmy Archey, Earl “Fatha” Hines, and Pops Foster, San Francisco, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Marlene Dietrich, Las Vegas, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Marlene Dietrich, Las Vegas, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Art Pepper, Los Angeles, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Art Pepper, Los Angeles, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Lee Friedlander, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Lee Friedlander, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Miles Davis, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Miles Davis, 1956. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Marlene Dietrich on stage, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Marlene Dietrich on stage, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Aldous Huxley, West Hollywood, 1957. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Aldous Huxley, West Hollywood, 1957. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Ali MacGraw, 1972. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Ali MacGraw, 1972. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Frank Sinatra, Hollywood 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Frank Sinatra, Hollywood 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, MGM Publicity Shoot N°1, Los Angeles, 1964. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, MGM Publicity Shoot N°1, Los Angeles, 1964. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Elvin Jones, c. 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Elvin Jones, c. 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Ray Charles with a raylette, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Ray Charles with a raylette, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Coltrane, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Coltrane, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, RI 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Frank Sinatra, Hollywood, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Frank Sinatra, Hollywood, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt in “Kite Dress” by Rudi Gernreich, Standing, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt in “Kite Dress” by Rudi Gernreich, Standing, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1967. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt modeling Rudi Gernreich design, 1971. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt modeling Rudi Gernreich design, 1971. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Rudi Gernreich and Peggy Moffitt, 1968. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Rudi Gernreich and Peggy Moffitt, 1968. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt in Rudi Gernreich, 1964. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt in Rudi Gernreich, 1964. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Coltrane, Guggenheim Museum, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, John Coltrane, Guggenheim Museum, 1960. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1962. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Steve McQueen, 1963. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Chet Baker's
William Claxton, Chet Baker's "Ax" and his Caddy, 1954. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Times Square, New York City, 1960 . Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Times Square, New York City, 1960 . Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Peggy Moffitt, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Andy Warhol, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Andy Warhol, 1960s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Spike Lee, 1989. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Spike Lee, 1989. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton at work, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton at work, 1955. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
William Claxton, Parade, New Orleans, 1950s. Courtesy Demont Photo Management
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