"Portrait of Billie Holiday at the Downbeat club, New York, ca. February 1947." Medium format negative by William Gottlieb.
I especially tried to capture personality, but that's an elusive quality, and I was successful only a portion of the time. But I certainly hit it on the button here with a picture of Billie Holiday, whose voice was filled with anguish. I also tried to catch the beauty of her face -- she was at her most beautiful at that particular time, which was not too long after she had come out of prison on a drug charge. She couldn't get at any drugs while she was incarcerated, or alcohol, and she lost weight and she came out looking gorgeous, and her voice was, I think, at its peak. And I was fortunate enough to have spent some time with her during that period, and I caught this close-up of her in a way that you could really see the anguish that must have been coming out of her throat.
-- William Gottlieb, 1997
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