W. Eugene Smith’s Jazz Loft

From the late 1950’s to early ’60’s, photographer W. Eugene Smith’s took over 40,000 photographs in his flower district loft at 821 6th Avenue. The “Jazz Loft” was the nightly gathering place of jazz greats and artists of the time (including Salvador Dali).

Some of the photos, now displayed as part of The Jazz Loft Project, depict the home-side of the cold-water flat (an apartment without hot water or sometimes without heating, even). Everyday neighborhood happenings were one particular interest of Smith:

Said Smith in a letter to friend Ansel Adams: “Always there is the window. It forever seduces me away from my work in this cold water flat. I breathe and smile and quicken and languish in appreciation of it, the proscenium arch with me on the third stage looking it down and up and bent along the sides and the whole audience in performance down before me, an ever changing pandemonium of delicate details and habitual rhythms.”

We’ve gathered here a few of the most home-oriented photos from the collection. View the rest of the images right here.

Images: courtesy of the W. Eugene Smith Archive, Center for Creative Photography, The University of Arizona and © The Heirs of W. Eugene Smith