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May 2, 2015

24 Extraordinary Portraits of Celebrities Taken by Art Kane in the 1960s and 1970s

Art Kane (1925-1995) was one of the most influential photographers of the twentieth century. A bold visionary, Kane’s work encompassed fashion, editorial, celebrity portraiture, travel, and nudes with a relentless and innovative eye.

Of that handful of elite post - WWII photographers, Art Kane was the wild child: unflinching, uncompromising and unsentimental. A pioneer of numerous concepts in modern photography, Kane was only interested in what could happen next, how to evolve, to change, to do it better, and to accept nothing less than brilliance.

After graduating from Cooper Union with honors in 1950 Kane designed page layouts at Esquire and at age 27 was named art director at Seventeen, the youngest art director of a major magazine in New York City. In 1956 he studied with Alexey Brodovitch at The New School, where other students included Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Diane Arbus. As a disciple of Brodovitch’s Art Kane learned to worship the unknown.

Thirty years before Photoshop and digital imaging, armed only with a light table and a loupe, Kane invented the ‘sandwich’ image; two, four, and more transparencies layered, inverted, reversed, book-matched, painstakingly aligned, and taped together at the edges. In perfecting this technique, Kane pioneered photographic storytelling by investing his images with metaphor and poetry, effectively turning photography into illustration.

In 1958, Kane assembled the greatest legends in jazz and shot what became one of his most famous images, Harlem 1958. In the 1960s and 1970s, he photographed, among others, the Rolling Stones, the Who, Janis Joplin, the Doors, Aretha Franklin and Bob Dylan.

Cream, 1968

Keith Richards, 1966

Brian Jones, 1966

Andy Warhol, 1962

Janis Joplin, 1968

Louis Armstrong, 1958

The Doors, 1968

Johnny Winter, 1978

Aretha Franklin, 1967

Jim Morrison, 1968

Veruschka, 1963

The Rolling Stones, 1966

Mick Jagger 1966

Pete Townshead, 1968

Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention, 1968

Jefferson Airplane, 1968

Bob Dylan, 1966

Lenny Bruce

Tim Curry 1981

The Who,1968

Sonny and Cher, 1966

'Who Killed Davey Moore?' 1970

Ali MacGraw, 1969

Joe Louis, 1962

(Photos © Art Kane)


  1. I like how Kane plays with angles.
    The Zappa one is funny -- half the babies look sleepy, the other half look displeased!

  2. I was there; pretty rough crowd as I remember it.... (GREAT Show though!).

  3. Photo caption have exited as old as photos have. But to try an attempt a twist in the tale is a recent phenomenon in a blog titled The Itinerant Poet by Aditya Sharma. The blog tries to re-imagine the concept of photo captions through poetry and phrases. So each photograph in the blog comes along with a poetic phrase, and it completely provokes you to look at the photo in a totally different manner. check it out! its new but surely a great read.

  4. Does it occur to anyone else that the people in these photos actually look MORE modern (in their own way) than most of us today??

  5. it wasn't that long ago.




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