Jazz Services and then Jazz UK, with the National Jazz Archive, had an arrangement with Brian O’Connor to assist him in creating an archive of his work and to ensure there is a concrete legacy of his photographic work. Brian’s site Images of Jazz has been up and running since 2002, the year he retired from his day job. Brian’s last updated biography is set out here:
I have always enjoyed photography. Then, in the early sixties the beautiful sounds of Stan Getz and Charlie Byrd playing Desafinado gradually lead me into the world of jazz. My education was also assisted by being a member of the Frank Sinatra App. Soc. A debt is owed to the many people I met there, especially one Stan Britt who has his own gallery in the Catalogue section.
In the seventies my photographic efforts began to be concentrated on the music, thus combining two hobbies in one, and occasionally a third when sipping a glass of malt whilst carrying out the first two.
2016 saw the self publication of my book, Brian O’Connor’s images of jazz. A selection of images taken between 1971 and 2016. The biggest difficulty was who to leave out. Errors all around in that respect, but still managed to include over 400 names. I had hoped to make it to 50 years before attempting this task, but finally decided to do it whilst still in almost full possession of my faculties.
Now, 14 years into retirement, my hours are spent playing golf, badly, continuing to enjoy and photograph the artists performing my favourite music, and travelling. Yes, I’ve just reached the famous three score and ten (plus 5).
I finally made it to New Orleans. An amazing city and lifestyle, but incredibly so much renovation still to do. On a slightly different note, I also made it to Memphis. Went to purchase a beer on Beale St., and was asked to give proof of age. As the person making the request was 8ft tall and weighed 300lbs I, upon due reflection, decided to acquiesce to what I suddenly discerned as being a perfectly reasonable demand.
2017 sees the commencement of my 47th year taking pictures. Hopefully after another 33 years I’ll be doing an update on 80 years of jazz photography. I won’t be holding my breath (probably quite the opposite), but I’ll give it my best shot.
A great thank you to all the musicians, clubs and venues that keep the music alive and have permitted the photos to be taken. They all deserve a medal. To quote from the ancient sayings of a certain Ronnie Scott, ‘It’s easy to make a million out of jazz. Just start off with two’.
Brian published Images of Jazz in 2017 wirth a foreword by Peter Ind. The book was originally on sale for £20 plus £4.95 post and packing, UK. The book was published on a non profit basis and sales are just to cover the cost of production. Brian has offered visitors to this site a special offer of £15 plus £4.95pp to a UK address. Anyone interested in buying from overseas should contact Brian direct for a quote to his email address email@example.com. For sales in the UK please send a cheque made out to Brian O’Connor, and sent to his home address, 48 Sarel Way, Horley, Surrey, RH6 8EW.
Images of Brian’s work can be purchased directly from Heritage Images. Heritage Images is an exceptional digital picture library of high resolution images. It contains a carefully edited collection of rare and original images of respected national and international institutions as well as private collections.
In the slideshow below are a range of photographs from Brian’s collection