© Holly Maxson
Milt began taking photographs of his friends in the l930s, and over the years, his collection grew to more than 60,000 black and white images. The work depicts an extensive range of jazz artists and popular performers in varied settings—on the road, in recording studios, at parties, and at home—over a period of six decades. In June 1981, he had his first solo photographic exhibition in Philadelphia, and since then, he has had exhibits across the country and in Europe.
In addition to being published in major periodicals, Milt’s photographs have appeared in numerous documentary films including The Brute and the Beautiful (1989), The Long Night of Lady Day (1990), A Great Day in Harlem (1994), Ken Burns’ mini-series Jazz (2001), Quincy (2018), and Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (2019).
© Chuck Stewart
In 1988, Bass Line: The Stories & Photographs of Milt Hinton (Milt Hinton and David G. Berger) was published by Temple University Press. It was selected "Book of the Year " by JazzTimes.
In 1991, OverTime: The Jazz Photographs of Milt Hinton (Milt Hinton, David G. Berger, and Holly Maxson) with galleries of photographs of musicians, was published by Pomegranate ArtBooks.
Milt's final book Playing the Changes: Milt Hinton’s Life in Stories and Photographs (Hinton, Berger, and Maxson) was published by Vanderbilt University Press in 2009, and contains 255 of his iconic photographs. A cd of Milt's stories is also included in the hardbound volume.
The Milton J. Hinton Photographic Collection
The approximately 60,000 black-and-white photographs taken by Milt Hinton between 1935 and 1999 comprise a major part of the Milton J. Hinton Photographic Collection. Housed in New York City, the Collection is co-directed by David G. Berger and Holly Maxson and also contains over 5,000 color slides, hundreds of reference and exhibition-quality prints, and home movies.
When I first started out in the ’30s, I took pictures so I could show my family and friends that I’d really been to all those places and knew all those people. Several years later, the guys I was traveling with became my friends, and I shot things we all experienced so we could share them later.
But as time went on, I realized the importance of the world I was living in, and I decided to try and make a record of it for future generations. Being a musician gave me access, and consequently, some of the best photos I ever took were simply a matter of being in the right place at the right time. Of course, I had no idea that some of my shots would be used to document jazz history, but I’m glad I’ve lived to see it.
-------------- Milt Hinton