In 1957, W. Eugene Smith left the home of his wife and four children and moved into a loft in Manhattan.
Smith — a former photographer for Life magazine — developed 40,000 photographs taken in that apartment, some featuring typical New York life and some featuring great jazz musicians of the time.
He also recorded 4,000 hours of audio — newscasts, jam sessions and conversations from the loft.
Some of these images and recordings were combined to create “The Jazz Loft Project,” an exhibition currently on display at the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University.
The exhibition was organized by the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.
“We loved the project from the moment we heard about it,” said Wendy Hower Livingston, manager of marketing and communications at the Nasher.
“The story behind the photography is very compelling.”
Sam Stephenson — the project’s director and a UNC alumnus — said he has worked on the project for 12 years.
In addition to the exhibition, Stephenson’s “The Jazz Loft Project” also features a radio series and a book about Smith’s photographs and recordings.