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[Detail] Louis Armstrong, Carnegie Hall, New York, N.Y., ca. Apr. 1947

Representing Musical Style Through Special Effects

Today, technology makes virtually any special effect achievable. When William Gottlieb was creating his photographs, however, special effects took more ingenuity. The challenges did not stop Gottlieb from trying to create effects that would help represent the music being created by the people he photographed. Study the photograph of Stan Kenton and Buddy Childers. How do you think he achieved the effect? What do you think Gottlieb was trying to suggest about the music being created by Kenton and Childers?

Now listen to Gottlieb's commentary. How accurate were your hypotheses? Do you think Gottlieb was successful in creating the effect he wanted?

Look at the portraits of Mel Torme and Conte Candoli. What do you think Gottlieb was trying to convey about the music of these artists?

Pick one of your favorite musicians or musical groups. How could you convey something about their music through a special effect, using only the tools available in 1948?