i know art kane by one photograph: the portrait of jazz musicians shot in harlem in 1958. why this photograph? well that was the year i was born and it represents a group of natural treasures. jazz, like pragmatism, is american—both born from the muck of the twentieth century. for a time i was a full-time fashion art director (still have a chance from time to time) and had the opportunity to work with some amazing photographers, but i never gravitated to art kane’s work. when i discovered this letterhead, i spent a bit of time looking into his photography and i came to appreciate it. there is a website of his work and i urge you to take a look. this particular image spoke to me. (you will need to click on editorial to see the flag image i am referring to.) i’m far from patriotic. (i was once visited by bush’s secret service, but that’s another story.) however, i just love the composition.
this letterhead is quintessentially herb lubalin. i have never been a fan of his work. i am too narrow-minded and not as open as i should be. his work speaks to a time and place. you know where you are when you see his typography. just as you do when you see a piece by emil ruder. lubalin had a distinctive voice and it either spoke to you or it didn’t. i guess these two piece spoke to me and so have stayed in my collection.